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U.S. v. Stevens (559 U.S. 460, 2010 Apr 20)

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Decisions It Cites

Decisions That Cite It

    Bilski v. Kappos [561 U.S. 460, 2010]

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[DESCRIPTION] {1} The Government contends that the terms in the definition should be read to require the additional element of "accompanying acts of cruelty." Reply Brief 6; see also Tr. of Oral Arg. 17-19. (The dissent hinges on the same *1212 assumption. See post, at 6, 9.) The Government bases this argument on the definiendum, "depiction of animal cruelty," cf. Leocal v. Ashcroft, 543 U. S. 1, 11 (2004), and on "`the commonsense canon of noscitur a sociis.'" Reply Brief 7 (quoting Williams, 553 U. S., at 294). As that canon recognizes, an ambiguous term may be "given more precise content by the neighboring words with which it is associated." Ibid. Likewise, an unclear definitional phrase may take meaning from the term to be defined, see Leocal, supra, at 11 (interpreting a "`substantial risk'" of the "us[e]" of "physical force" as part of the definition of "`crime of violence'").

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