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Septa ber 7 , 1939

V-ac:or»ik:ia-. of Cases Bearing upon the Construction o f
Pevised S t a t u t e s , f a c t i o n
Subsection ( c ) , as
Discussed i n the U t t e r of Teptesber 5» 1939, fro®
Charles W. C o l l i n s , Counsel f o r Transeaerica
Corporation, t o the Bocrd o f Governors of the
Federal reserve ^ysten.

1.




No room f o r construction "here language i s unambiguous:
a.

Where t h e r e i s no ambiguity i n the words o f a s t a t u t e ,
i s no root- f o r c o n s t r u c t i o n .

there

S . v . " i l t b a r ^ c r . 5 ? *h««t. 76
fo^jfl
v . Co|oyf49
ipvfgVqflt C^ga^y,
110 U. S . 1

b.

'here the language of a s t a t u t e i s n e t anbi^uous, i t s.u3t
be construed i n i t s n a t u r a l and obvious sense.

9a Si ttafrffi ^clfig

L a i i s v . U.

c«

91 U.

72

Pt fit, 2*2 U. S. 470

The meaning of an a c t passed by Congress s u s t , when t h e r e
i s no ambiguity i n the terras of the l a v , be founu i n the
language i n which i t i s expressed.
a.

a.

6lg

There the language of a s t a t u t e i s p l a i n end admits o f no
sore than one seaning, the duty o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n Joes not
a r i s e and the r u l e s which a r e to a i d d o u b t f u l meanings
need no discussion*

CastafW
d.

92 U.

v . H i i i . 24a u . s .

uo

here the language o f the a c t i s e x p l i c i t , the words used
should n o t be departed f r o t t o f i v e z.n a f f e c t to the law
which may be supposed t o have been designed by the l e g i s lature.
y+frliMrHrtai

falifriiw*

m

s . s*

i

fteevorandujr - 2

f•

feptember <f9 193?

^hare & l a * i f expressed i n p l a i n and un&rhiguou* t e r s s ,
whether these ten*.? are general or l i m i t e d , the l e g i s l a t u r e should be considered to bars * e c n t * h e t they liave
p l a i n l y expressed ar^i consevneatly no roots i s i e f t f o r
construction.
la-JLu
^ip^on
232 0 . S. 399

2.




a r .d ^levatqr Co:

Penal s t a t u t e s should be s t r i c t l y construed!
&.

A penal s t a t u t e should be a p p l i e d only t o case a cosing
p l s I n l y w i t h i n i t s terms.
•-•oythefq P a c i f y R a l l ^ o a ^ Conpspy,
242 U. C. 190

b.

So one can be punished f o r a v i o l a t i o n of a s t a t u t e
unless h i s case i s p l a i n l y and unai-jtarably w i t h i n i t s
terms*
u . r . v . vacher, 134 U* £*

c.

I penal s t a t u t e should be s t r i c t l y construed, and w i t h
no intendsent of extension beyond the import of the
words u?ed.
r

cl.

*.

v . Gooaln;;:. 12 t h e a t * 460

P e n a l t i e s a r e nevar extended by i m p l i c a t i o n *
They ?aust
be expressly imposed or they cannot be enforced.
-liAPtt
S M t P j m ^ y l w s f t f r R e ^ ^ e d C ^ PMfff
99 U. S* 573

»*

The i n t e n t i o n of a penal s t a t u t e eu&t be found i n the
language a c t u a l l y used, i n t e r p r e t e d according to i t s
f a i r and obvious meaning*
P . S*

Herri,a* 177 U. ? . 305

. c e r teober f t

SSep.«orandiJN - 3

3.




A s t a t u t e which confers powers to impose p e n a l t i e s should
toe s t r i c t l y construed:
a*

k s t a t u t e which i s the sola foundation of the
executed under i t , oust be pursued s t r i c t l y *
Washington v . i f r a t t * " 8

b.

cowers

heat* 6 d l

I f a new J u r i s d i c t i o n be conferred end a s p e c i a l &ode
be provided by wfcich i t s h a l l be e x e r c i s e d , the rerecy
cannot be extended beyond the provisions of the a c t *
S« v . ftBDMaa 6 P e t . *7Q

1939