Bate Refrigerating Co. v. Sulzberger

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Bate Refrigerating Co. v. Sulzberger, 157 U.S. 1 (1895), is an opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court by Justice John Harlan I that constituted an early statement of modern textualism with respect to statutory interpretation:[1]

Where the language of the act is explicit," this court has said, "there is great danger in departing from the words used, to give an effect to the law which may be supposed to have been designed by the legislature. ... It is not for the court to say, where the language of the statute is clear, that it shall be so construed as to embrace cases, because no good reason can be assigned why they were excluded from its provisions."


  1. 157 U.S. at 37 (quoting Scott v. Reid, 10 Pet. 524, 527).

External links

  • Case at FindLaw (registration may be required)