, Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid :: 592 U.S. ___ (2021) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid :: 592 U.S. ___ (2021) :: US LAW US Supreme Court Center

    USLaw.Site Opinion Summary and Annotations

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) restricts communications made with an “automatic phone dialing system,” defined as gadget with the potential both “to store or produce smartphone numbers to be known as, using a random or sequential wide variety generator,” and to dial the ones numbers, 47 U.S.C. 227(a)(1). Facebook’s social media platform allows customers to pick to receive textual content messages when a person attempts to log in to the person’s account from a new device. Facebook sent such texts to Duguid, alerting him to login activity on a Facebook account linked to his cellphone variety, however Duguid by no means created any Facebook account. Duguid attempted, unsuccessfully, to prevent the unwanted messages. He brought a putative elegance motion, alleging that Facebook violated the TCPA by maintaining a database that stored cellphone numbers and programming its gadget to send computerized textual content messages. The Ninth Circuit dominated in Duguid’s want.

    The Supreme Court reversed: To qualify as an “automated cellphone dialing system” under the TCPA, a device should have the capacity both to save a cellphone wide variety the usage of a random or sequential wide variety generator or to supply a phone wide variety the usage of a random or sequential range generator. The statutory context confirms that the TCPA’s autodialer definition excludes device that doesn't use a random or sequential variety generator. Congress discovered autodialer generation dangerous because autodialers can dial emergency lines randomly or tie up all of an entity's sequentially numbered telephone strains. Duguid’s interpretation might encompass any gadget that shops and dials phone numbers.

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    NOTE: Where it's miles possible, a syllabus (headnote) may be launched, as is being carried out in connection with this example, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court however has been organized through the Reporter of Decisions for the benefit of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 2 hundred U.S. 321, 337.

    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

    Syllabus

    Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid et al.

    certiorari to the united states courtroom of appeals for the ninth circuit

    No. 19–511. Argued December eight, 2020—Decided April 1, 2021

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) proscribes abusive telemarketing practices through, among other things, restricting positive communications made with an “automatic telephone dialing machine.” The TCPA defines such “autodialers” as equipment with the capacity each “to shop or produce phone numbers to be known as, the usage of a random or sequential number generator,” and to dial the ones numbers. forty seven U. S. C. §227(a)(1). Petitioner Facebook, Inc., keeps a social media platform that, as a security feature, allows users to elect to obtain textual content messages whilst someone tries to log in to the consumer’s account from a new tool or browser. Facebook despatched such texts to Noah Duguid, alerting him to login pastime on a Facebook account linked to his telephone variety, but Duguid in no way created that account (or any account on Facebook). Duguid tried without achievement to forestall the undesirable messages, and finally introduced a putative magnificence motion in opposition to Facebook. He alleged that Facebook violated the TCPA with the aid of maintaining a database that stored phone numbers and programming its system to send automatic textual content messages. Facebook countered that the TCPA does not follow due to the fact the technology it used to text Duguid did not use a “random or sequential variety generator.” The Ninth Circuit disagreed, protecting that §227(a)(1) applies to a notification machine like Facebook’s that has the ability to dial automatically saved numbers.

    Held: To qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing device” beneath the TCPA, a tool must have the capacity either to keep a cellphone quantity using a random or sequential variety generator, or to provide a smartphone wide variety the use of a random or sequential range generator. Pp. four–12.

    (a) This case activates whether or not the clause “using a random or sequential range generator” in §227(a)(1)(A) modifies both of the 2 verbs that precede it (“store” and “produce”), as Facebook contends, or most effective the closest one (“produce”), as maintained by way of Duguid. The maximum herbal reading of the textual content and other elements of §227(a)(1)(A) affirm Facebook’s view. First, in an regular case, the “series-qualifier canon” instructs that a modifier on the give up of a series of nouns or verbs applies to the complete series. Here, that canon suggests that the modifying word “the use of a random or sequential quantity generator” qualifies both antecedent verbs, “store” and “produce.” Second, the modifying word right now follows a concise, integrated clause (“store or produce cellphone numbers to be called”), which uses the phrase “or” to connect verbs that proportion a common direct item (“phone numbers to be known as”). Given this structure, it might be odd to apply the modifier to simply one part of the cohesive clause. Third, the comma in §227(a)(1)(A) separating the modifying word from the antecedents indicates that the qualifier applies to all of the antecedents, instead of simply the closest one. Pp. four–6.

    Duguid’s insistence that a proscribing clause must mainly be study as enhancing only the phrase that it straight away follows (the so-referred to as “rule of the closing antecedent”) does now not help his cause for 2 reasons. First, the Court has declined to apply that rule inside the specific context wherein, as right here, the enhancing clause seems after an integrated listing. Jama v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 543 U.S. 335, 344, n. 4. Second, the final antecedent earlier than the clause at problem in §227(a)(1)(A) is not “produce,” as Duguid argues, however instead “cellphone numbers to be called.” Pp. 6–7.

    (b) The statutory context confirms that the TCPA’s autodialer definition excludes system that does not use a random or sequential range generator. Congress found autodialer generation harmful due to the fact autodialers can dial emergency lines randomly or tie up all the sequentially numbered smartphone strains at a unmarried entity. Facebook’s interpretation of §227(a)(1)(A) better suits the scope of the TCPA to these specific issues. Duguid’s interpretation, alternatively, would embody any equipment that shops and dials smartphone numbers. Pp. 7–eight.

    (c)  Duguid’s different counterarguments do now not overcome the clean commands of the statute’s text and broader context. First, he claims that his interpretation quality accords with the “sense” of the text. It would make little feel however, to categorise as autodialers all gadget with the potential to shop and dial cellphone numbers, inclusive of truly all present day cell phones. Second, Duguid invokes the “distributive canon,” which presents that a sequence of antecedents and consequents have to be allotted to one another based totally on how they most naturally relate in context. But that canon is much less proper right here because there is only one consequent to fit to 2 antecedents, and in any event, the enhancing word certainly pertains to both antecedents. Third, Duguid broadly construes the TCPA’s privacy-protection desires. But in spite of Congress’ widespread issue about intrusive telemarketing practices, Congress ultimately selected a precise autodialer definition. Finally, Duguid argues that a random or sequential number generator is a “senescent technology,” i.e., one possibly to end up previous quick. That may additionally or won't be the case, but both manner, this Court can not rewrite the TCPA to replace it for current generation. Congress’ selected definition of an autodialer calls for that the equipment in query ought to use a random or sequential wide variety generator. That definition excludes device like Facebook’s login notification system, which does no longer use such era. Pp. 8–eleven.

    926 F.3d 1146, reversed and remanded.

    Sotomayor, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Thomas, Breyer, Kagan, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, JJ., joined. Alito, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

    NOTICE: This opinion is problem to formal revision earlier than booklet in the preliminary print of america Reports. Readers are asked to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the USA, Washington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made earlier than the preliminary print is going to press.

    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

    _________________

    No. 19–511

    _________________

    FACEBOOK, INC., PETITIONER v. NOAH DUGUID, et al.

    on writ of certiorari to the united states courtroom of appeals for the 9th circuit

    [April 1, 2021]

    Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court.

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) proscribes abusive telemarketing practices through, among different matters, imposing regulations on making calls with an “computerized telephone dialing system.” As described via the TCPA, an “automatic smartphone dialing device” is a piece of device with the capability each “to store or produce telephone numbers to be referred to as, the use of a random or sequential wide variety generator,” and to dial the ones numbers. 47 U. S. C. §227(a)(1). The query before the Court is whether that definition encompasses device that could “store” and dial cellphone numbers, despite the fact that the device does no longer “us[e] a random or sequential range generator.” It does now not. To qualify as an “automatic cellphone dialing machine,” a tool need to have the capacity either to keep a cellphone number the usage of a random or sequential generator or to produce a phone quantity the usage of a random or sequential quantity generator.

    I

    A

    In 1991, Congress handed the TCPA to deal with “the proliferation of intrusive, nuisance calls” to consumers and corporations from telemarketers. §2, ¶¶1, 6, 105Stat. 2394, be aware following forty seven U. S. C. §227. Advances in automatic era made it possible for corporations to execute big-scale telemarketing campaigns at a fraction of the earlier value, dramatically increasing purchaser contacts. Infamously, the development of “robocall” technology allowed organizations to make calls the usage of artificial or prerecorded voices, obviating the want for stay human callers altogether.

    This case worries “computerized smartphone dialing structures” (hereinafter autodialers), which revolutionized telemarketing via permitting businesses to dial random or sequential blocks of cellphone numbers routinely. Congress found autodialer era to be uniquely harmful. It threatened public protection by means of “seizing the phone traces of public emergency services, dangerously stopping those strains from being utilized to get hold of calls from those needing emergency services.” H. R. Rep. No. 102–317, p. 24 (1991). Indeed, due to the sequential manner in which they could generate numbers, autodialers may want to simultaneously tie up all the lines of any enterprise with sequentially numbered cellphone traces. Nor were man or woman customers spared: Autodialers should reach cell telephones, pagers, and unlisted numbers, inconveniencing consumers and implementing undesirable prices.[1] Ibid.

    Against this technological backdrop, Congress made it unlawful to make certain calls “the use of any automated cellphone dialing machine” to “emergency smartphone line[s],” to “guest room[s] or patient room[s] of a clinic,” or “to any telephone number assigned to a paging carrier [or] cellular cellphone carrier” without the “earlier specific consent of the known as birthday party.” forty seven U. S. C. §227(b)(1)(A).[2] The TCPA creates a personal right of motion for folks to sue to enjoin illegal makes use of of autodialers and to recover as much as $1,500 according to violation or 3 instances the plaintiffs’ actual financial losses. §227(b)(three).

    B

    Petitioner Facebook, Inc., keeps a social media platform with an elective security function that sends users “login notification” textual content messages while an strive is made to get right of entry to their Facebook account from an unknown device or browser. If vital, the consumer can then log into Facebook and take motion to steady the account. To choose in to this service, the person ought to offer and verify a cell smartphone range to which Facebook can ship messages.

    In 2014, respondent Noah Duguid acquired numerous login-notification textual content messages from Facebook, alerting him that someone had attempted to get entry to the Facebook account related to his telephone quantity from an unknown browser. But Duguid has in no way had a Facebook account and in no way gave Facebook his smartphone wide variety.[3] Unable to prevent the notifications, Duguid brought a putative elegance motion in opposition to Facebook. He alleged that Facebook violated the TCPA via preserving a database that stored cellphone numbers and programming its gadget to send automatic text messages to those numbers on every occasion the related account was accessed by means of an unrecognized tool or net browser.

    Facebook moved to dismiss the fit, arguing more often than not that Duguid failed to allege that Facebook used an autodialer because he did now not claim Facebook despatched text messages to numbers that have been randomly or sequentially generated. Rather, Facebook argued, Duguid alleged that Facebook despatched targeted, individualized texts to numbers linked to unique debts. The U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed and disregarded Duguid’s amended criticism with prejudice. 2017 WL 635117, *4–*5 (Feb. sixteen, 2017).

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. As applicable right here, the Ninth Circuit held that Duguid had said a claim underneath the TCPA through alleging that Facebook’s notification gadget mechanically dialed saved numbers. An autodialer, the Court of Appeals held, want no longer be able to use a random or sequential generator to keep numbers; it need simplest have the potential to “ ‘keep numbers to be known as’ ” and “ ‘to dial such numbers mechanically.’ ” 926 F.3d 1146, 1151 (2019) (quoting Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC, 904 F.3d 1041, 1053 (CA9 2018)).

    We granted certiorari to remedy a war a few of the Courts of Appeals concerning whether an autodialer ought to have the capability to generate random or sequential telephone numbers.[4] 591 U. S. ___ (2020). We now opposite the Ninth Circuit’s judgment.

    II

    Section 227(a)(1) defines an autodialer as:

    “system which has the ability—

    “(A) to store or produce phone numbers to be referred to as, the usage of a random or sequential quantity generator; and

    “(B) to dial such numbers.”

    Facebook argues the clause “using a random or sequential range generator” modifies both verbs that precede it (“save” and “produce”), at the same time as Duguid contends it modifies best the closest one (“produce”). We finish that the clause modifies each, specifying how the gadget must both “keep” or “produce” telephone numbers. Because Facebook’s notification system neither stores nor produces numbers “the usage of a random or sequential variety generator,” it isn't always an autodialer.

    A

    We start with the text. Congress described an autodialer in terms of what it have to do (“shop or produce smartphone numbers to be called”) and the way it need to do it (“the use of a random or sequential quantity generator”). The definition makes use of a acquainted structure: a listing of verbs followed via a editing clause. Under conventional rules of grammar, “[w]bird there is a trustworthy, parallel production that entails all nouns or verbs in a series,” a modifier at the stop of the list “usually applies to the entire collection.” A. Scalia & B. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 147 (2012) (Scalia & Garner) (quotation modified). The Court frequently applies this interpretative rule, typically referred to as the “series-qualifier canon.” See Paroline v. United States, 572 U.S. 434, 447 (2014) (citing Porto Rico Railway, Light & Power Co. v. Mor, 253 U.S. 345, 348 (1920)); see also United States v. Bass, 404 U.S. 336, 339–340 (1971). This canon generally displays the most natural studying of a sentence. Imagine if a instructor announced that “college students have to not complete or test any homework to be grew to become in for a grade, the use of on line homework-assist web sites.” It would be ordinary to study that rule as prohibiting college students from finishing homework altogether, with or without on-line help.

    Here, the series-qualifier canon recommends qualifying each antecedent verbs, “shop” and “produce,” with the phrase “the use of a random or sequential wide variety generator.” That advice produces the maximum herbal production, as showed by different components of §227(a)(1)(A)’s textual content.

    To begin, the modifier at problem right now follows a concise, incorporated clause: “store or produce cellphone numbers to be called.” See Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, 583 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2018) (slip op., at 21–22). The clause “hangs collectively as a unified entire,” identification., at ___ (slip op., at 21), the use of the word “or” to attach two verbs that percentage a commonplace direct item, “cellphone numbers to be called.” It could be ordinary to use the modifier (“the usage of a random or sequential variety generator”) to most effective a part of this cohesive preceding clause.

    This interpretation of §227(a)(1)(A) additionally “heed[s] the instructions of its punctuation.” United States Nat. Bank of Ore. v. Independent Ins. Agents of America, Inc., 508 U.S. 439, 454 (1993). Recall that the word “using a random or sequential wide variety generator” follows a comma placed after the phrase “store or produce telephone numbers to be known as.” As numerous main treatises explain, “ ‘[a] qualifying word separated from antecedents with the aid of a comma is proof that the qualifier is supposed to use to all of the antecedents in preference to only to the right away previous one.’ ” W. Eskridge, Interpreting Law: A Primer on How To Read Statutes and the Constitution sixty seven–sixty eight (2016); see also 2A N. Singer & S. Singer, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction §forty seven:33, pp. 499–500 (rev. seventh ed. 2014); Scalia & Garner 161–162. The comma in §227(a)(1)(A) for that reason further shows that Congress intended the phrase “the use of a random or sequential range generator” to apply similarly to both previous elements.

    Contrary to Duguid’s view, this interpretation does no longer conflict with the so-referred to as “rule of the last antecedent.” Under that rule, “a proscribing clause or phrase . . . must mostly be read as enhancing only the noun or word that it without delay follows.” Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 26 (2003); see additionally Lockhart v. United States, 577 U.S. 347, 351 (2016). The rule of the closing antecedent is context dependent. This Court has declined to apply the rule in which, like right here, the modifying clause appears after an incorporated listing. See Jama v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 543 U.S. 335, 344, n. 4 (2005) (amassing cases). Moreover, despite the fact that the rule of the last antecedent have been relevant right here, it'd provide no assist to Duguid. The ultimate antecedent before “the usage of a random or sequential variety generator” is not “produce,” as Duguid wishes it to be, however instead “smartphone numbers to be known as.” There is “no grammatical basis,” Cyan, 583 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 22), for arbitrarily stretching the modifier back to include “produce,” but now not to this point returned as to encompass “keep.”

    In sum, Congress’ definition of an autodialer calls for that during all cases, whether storing or generating numbers to be referred to as, the device in query ought to use a random or sequential range generator. This definition excludes system like Facebook’s login notification device, which does no longer use such generation.[five]

    B

    The statutory context confirms that the autodialer definition excludes system that does not “us[e] a random or sequential quantity generator.” forty seven U. S. C. §227(a)(1)(A). Consider the TCPA’s restrictions on the use of autodialers. As formerly stated, §227(b)(1) makes it unlawful to apply an autodialer to name positive “emergency telephone line[s]” and contours “for which the called birthday party is charged for the decision.” §227(b)(1)(A). It also makes it illegal to use an autodialer “in this sort of manner that two or extra telephone strains of a multiline commercial enterprise are engaged concurrently.” §227(b)(1)(D). These prohibitions goal a unique kind of telemarketing device that dangers dialing emergency traces randomly or tying up all the sequentially numbered traces at a unmarried entity.

    Expanding the definition of an autodialer to encompass any equipment that simply stores and dials telephone numbers would take a chainsaw to those nuanced troubles while Congress intended to use a scalpel. Duguid’s interpretation of an autodialer would seize truly all present day mobile phones, which have the potential to “keep . . . telephone numbers to be called” and “dial such numbers.” §227(a)(1). The TCPA’s legal responsibility provisions, then, should have an effect on everyday cellular telephone proprietors within the route of not unusual usage, which includes speed dialing or sending automatic text message responses. See §227(b)(three) (authorizing a $500 best in keeping with violation, improved to $1,500 if the sender acted “willfully” or “knowingly”).[6]

    III

    Duguid’s counterarguments can not triumph over the clean instructions of §227(a)(1)(A)’s textual content and the statutory context. The crux of Duguid’s argument is that the autodialer definition requires a production that accords with the “experience” of the textual content. Brief for Respondents 11, and n. 3. It makes the most “experience,” Duguid insists, to use the word “the usage of a random or sequential number generator” to modify handiest “produce,” which, unlike the verb “shop,” is closely linked to the noun “generator.” Dictionary definitions of “generator,” as an example, regularly include the phrase “produce,” which includes a very different meaning than “save.” Duguid also claims that, on the time of the TCPA’s enactment, the technical which means of a “random number generator” invoked methods of manufacturing numbers, now not way of storing them.

    Perhaps Duguid’s interpretive approach would have some appeal if applying the conventional tools of interpretation brought about a “linguistically not possible” or contextually fantastic outcome. Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, 584 U. S. ___, ___ (2018) (slip op., at eight); see also Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton, 581 U. S. ___, ___ (2017) (slip op., at eleven) (noting that a “feel of inconceivability” may “urg[e] readers to discard typical policies of decoding textual content”). Duguid makes a valiant attempt to show as a great deal, however in the end comes up brief. It is authentic that, as a remember of regular parlance, it is unusual to mention that a bit of gadget “stores” numbers the use of a random wide variety “generator.” But it is less ordinary as a technical count. Indeed, as early as 1988, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office issued patents for gadgets that used a random number generator to shop numbers to be referred to as later (instead of using a range of generator for fast dialing).[7] Brief for Professional Association for Customer Engagement et al. as Amici Curiae 15–21. At any fee, Duguid’s interpretation is opposite to the regular studying of the text and, with the aid of classifying nearly all cutting-edge cell telephones as autodialers, could produce an final results that makes even less feel.

    Duguid’s reliance at the distributive canon fails for similar reasons. That canon affords that “[w]here a sentence includes several antecedents and numerous consequents,” courts ought to “examine them distributively and follow the phrases to the topics which, through context, they seem most well to narrate.” 2A Singer, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction §forty seven:26, at 448. Set aside for a moment that the canon’s relevance is incredibly questionable given there are two antecedents (store and bring) but most effective one consequent modifier (the usage of a random or sequential variety generator). See Encino Motorcars, 584 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at eight) (“[T]he distributive canon has the maximum force whilst the statute lets in for one-to-one matching”). As simply explained, the consequent “the use of a random or sequential variety generator” properly relates to both antecedents.

    Duguid next turns to legislative reason, but he simply gestures at Congress’ “wide privateness-safety dreams.” Brief for Respondents 28 (emphasizing that Congress prohibited calls made using an autodialer with out “ ‘earlier explicit consent of the known as celebration’ ” (quoting forty seven U. S. C. §227(b)(1)(A))). That Congress turned into extensively worried about intrusive telemarketing practices, however, does no longer mean it adopted a broad autodialer definition. Congress expressly located that using random or sequential number generator era precipitated specific problems for commercial enterprise, emergency, and mobile lines. See supra, at 2. Unsurprisingly, then, the autodialer definition Congress employed consists of best devices that use such generation, and the autodialer prohibitions target calls made to such traces. See §227(b)(1)(A).[eight] The narrow statutory layout, therefore, does not help Duguid’s vast interpretation.

    Duguid remaining warns that accepting Facebook’s interpretation will “unharness” a “torrent of robocalls.” Brief for Respondents 38 (quotation changed). As Duguid sees it, the thrust of congressional movement for the reason that TCPA’s enactment has been to restriction nuisance calls. Because era “adapt[s] to exchange,” Duguid argues, the TCPA should be handled as an “ ‘agile tool.’ ” Id., at 38, forty one. To this quit, Duguid asks this Court to focus now not on whether or not a device has the “senescent technology,” identity., at forty one, of random or sequential variety technology however alternatively on whether or not it has the “capability to dial numbers without human intervention,” identification., at 39 (internal citation marks overlooked).

    To start with, Duguid greatly overstates the effects of accepting Facebook’s interpretation. The statute one by one prohibits calls using “an artificial or prerecorded voice” to diverse kinds of cellphone lines, which include domestic telephones and mobile phones, until an exception applies. See forty seven U. S. C. §§227(b)(1)(A) and (B). Our selection does not have an effect on that prohibition. In any occasion, Duguid’s quarrel is with Congress, which did now not define an autodialer as malleably as he might have appreciated. “Senescent” as more than a few generator (and perhaps the TCPA itself ) can be, this is no justification for eschewing the high-quality reading of §227(a)(1)(A). This Court must interpret what Congress wrote, which is that “using a random or sequential wide variety generator” modifies both “store” and “produce.”

    *  *  *

    We hold that a vital feature of an autodialer underneath §227(a)(1)(A) is the potential to apply a random or sequential quantity generator to either keep or produce cellphone numbers to be called. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further complaints constant with this opinion.

    It is so ordered.

    Notes
    1  At the time Congress enacted the TCPA, most cellular providers charged customers no longer best for outgoing calls however additionally for incoming calls. See In re Rules and Regulations Implementing Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 18 FCC Rcd. 14014, 14115 (2003).
    2  Neither birthday party disputes that the TCPA’s prohibition also extends to sending unsolicited text messages. See Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. 153, 156 (2016). We therefore assume that it does without considering or resolving that problem.
    3  As Facebook explains, it is possible that Duguid became assigned a recycled cellular telephone number that formerly belonged to a Facebook consumer who opted to get hold of login notifications.
    four  Compare 926 F.3d 1146, 1151–1152 (CA9 2019); Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc., 955 F.3d 279, 290 (CA2 2020); and Allan v. Pennsylvania Higher Educ. Assistance Agency, 968 F.3d 567, 579–580 (CA6 2020), with Gadelhak v. AT&T Servs., Inc., 950 F.3d 458, 468 (CA7 2020) (Barrett, J., for the court); Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Co., 948 F.3d 1301, 1306–1307 (CA11 2020); and Dominguez v. Yahoo, Inc., 894 F.3d 116, 119 (CA3 2018).
    5 Justice Alito notes that he “agree[s] with lots of the Court’s analysis,” in addition to its last end about the interpretive query earlier than us, but he has the same opinion inside the judgment simplest. Post, at 1. His apprehension seems to stem from what he sees because the Court’s “heavy reliance” on the collection-qualifier canon. Ibid. Such canons, he argues, are “not rigid regulations.” Post, at four. On that point, we agree: Linguistic canons are tools of statutory interpretation whose usefulness depends on the specific statutory textual content and context at issue. That can be all Justice Alito seeks to prove together with his discussion and list of “sentences that actually pass towards the canon,” publish, at three. (That the grammatical shape of each example he presents is materially distinctive from that of the clause at difficulty in this situation proves the point.) But to the volume that he shows that such canons have no role to play in statutory interpretation, or that resolving tough interpretive questions is a easy count number of applying the “common knowledge” of these “acquainted with the English language,” post, at 2–3, we disagree. Difficult ambiguities in statutory text will inevitably arise, despite the excellent efforts of legislators writing in “English prose,” publish, at 4. Courts should approach those interpretive problems methodically, the use of conventional gear of statutory interpretation, with a purpose to affirm their assumptions about the “commonplace knowledge” of words.
    6  Duguid contends that regular mobile phones aren't autodialers beneath his interpretation due to the fact they can not dial smartphone numbers mechanically and as an alternative rely upon human intervention. But all gadgets require some human intervention, whether it takes the form of programming a cell cellphone to respond automatically to texts acquired whilst in “do no longer disturb” mode or commanding a computer software to supply and dial telephone numbers at random. We decline to interpret the TCPA as requiring one of these difficult line-drawing exercise round how a whole lot automation is an excessive amount of.
    7  Duguid argues that such a tool would always “produce” numbers the use of the same generator era, that means “keep or” in §227(a)(1)(A) is superfluous. “It is not any superfluity,” however, for Congress to include both features inside the autodialer definition on the way to clarify the area of prohibited devices. BFP v. Resolution Trust Corporation, 511 U.S. 531, 544, n. 7 (1994). For instance, an autodialer might use a random quantity generator to decide the order wherein to pick out phone numbers from a preproduced list. It could then keep the ones numbers to be dialed at a later time. See Brief for Professional Association for Customer Engagement et al. as Amici Curiae 19. In any occasion, even though the storing and producing capabilities regularly merge, Congress may have “employed a belt and suspenders technique” in writing the statute. Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, 590 U. S. ___, ___, n. five (2020) (slip op., at 10, n. five).
    8  By comparison, Congress did impose broader prohibitions elsewhere inside the TCPA. See, e.g., forty seven U. S. C. §§227(b)(1)(A) and (B) (prohibiting “artificial or prerecorded voice” calls, regardless of the form of era used).

    SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

    _________________

    No. 19–511

    _________________

    FACEBOOK, INC., PETITIONER v. NOAH DUGUID, et al.

    on writ of certiorari to the us courtroom of appeals for the 9th circuit

    [April 1, 2021]

    Justice Alito, concurring within the judgment.

    I agree with the Court that an “automated phone dialing machine,” as described within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, ought to have the capacity to “store . . . phone numbers” by means of “using a random or sequential range generator.” 47 U. S. C. §227(a)(1)(A). I also trust much of the Court’s analysis and the evaluation in several Court of Appeals choices on this question. See Gadelhak v. AT&T Servs., Inc., 950 F.3d 458, 463–468 (CA7 2020); Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Co., 948 F.3d 1301, 1306–1312 (CA11 2020).

    I write one after the other to deal with the Court’s heavy reliance on one of the canons of interpretation which have come to play a outstanding position in our statutory interpretation instances. Cataloged in a treatise written with the aid of our former colleague Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner, counsel for respondents in this example, those canons are useful gear, however it's far important to preserve their obstacles in thoughts. This can be especially proper with recognize to the unique canon at issue here, the “series-qualifier” canon.

    According to the majority’s recitation of this canon, “ ‘[w]bird there's a sincere, parallel production that involves all nouns or verbs in a series,’ a modifier on the cease of the listing ‘generally applies to the complete series.’ ” Ante, at five (quoting A. Scalia & B. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 147 (2012) (Reading Law)).[1]*

    The Court refers to this canon as a “rul[e] of grammar.” Ante, at five. Yet the Scalia-Garner treatise makes it clear that interpretive canons “are not ‘policies’ of interpretation in any strict experience but presumptions about what an intelligently produced textual content conveys.” Reading Law 51. (Even grammar, in line with Mr. Garner, is on the whole simply “an try and describe the English language as it is without a doubt used.” B. Garner, The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation 1 (2016)). And Reading Law is going out of its manner to emphasize the restrictions of the collection-qualifier canon, warning:

    “Perhaps greater than most of the opposite canons, [the series-qualifier canon] is especially sensitive to context. Often the feel of the matter prevails: He went forth and wept bitterly does now not suggest that he went forth bitterly.” Reading Law a hundred and fifty.

    The italicized sentence—an English translation of a sentence inside the New Testament, Matthew 26:75—is not best grammatical; it is perfectly clean. No one acquainted with the English language would fail to recognize it—despite the fact that its which means is contrary to the one counseled through the collection-qualifier canon.

    The Court writes that the collection-qualifier canon “commonly displays the maximum herbal studying of a sentence,” ante, at five, and maybe that is so. But cf. Lockhart v. United States, 577 U.S. 347, 351 (2016) (relying on “the primary intuition that after a modifier seems at the end of a listing, it is less complicated to use that modifier most effective to the object immediately earlier than it”). But it's miles very smooth to think about sentences that honestly pass in opposition to the canon:

    “At the Super Bowl celebration, she ate, drank, and cheered raucously.”

    “On Saturday, he relaxes and physical games vigorously.”

    “When his owner comes domestic, the dog wags his tail and barks loudly.”

    “It is unlawful to hunt rhinos and giraffes with necks longer than three toes.”

    “She loves to swim and run wearing music spikes.”

    In help of its treatment of the series-qualifier canon, the Court gives this example of a sentence in which the herbal studying corresponds with the translation counseled via the canon: “[S]tudents should not entire or take a look at any homework to be turned in for a grade, the use of on line homework-assist websites.” Ante, at five. I certainly agree that the adverbial word on this sentence (“the use of on line homework-help websites”) modifies each of the verbs it follows (“whole” and “take a look at”) and not simply the latter. But that know-how has little to do with syntax and the whole lot to do with our not unusual expertise that instructors do no longer want to restrict students from doing homework. We can see this factor truly if we preserve the same syntax but update the verb “complete” with any number of other verbs that describe something a trainer is not likely to want college students to do, say, “forget about,” “overlook,” “discard,” “lose,” “neglect,” “forget about,” “smash,” “throw away,” or “incinerate” their homework. The concept of “using on line homework-assist websites” to do any of these things would be nonsensical, and no reader might interpret the sentence to have that meaning—even though that is what the series-qualifier canon shows.

    The strength and validity of an interpretive canon is an empirical question, and perhaps one day it is going to be viable to assess these canons through accomplishing what's referred to as a corpus linguistics evaluation, that is, an analysis of how unique combinations of words are utilized in a widespread database of English prose. See generally Lee & Mouritsen, Judging Ordinary Meaning, 127 Yale L. J. 788 (2018). If the series-qualifier canon had been analyzed on this way, I suspect we would locate that series qualifiers from time to time regulate all of the nouns or verbs in a listing and on occasion regulate simply the last noun or verb. It might be thrilling to look if the share of sentences inside the first class is excessive enough to justify the canon. But irrespective of how the sentences with the relevant shape broke down, it'd be sudden if “the feel of the matter” did now not easily screen the which means in the tremendous majority of cases. Reading Law one hundred fifty.

    That is just my bet. Empirical evidence may show me incorrect, but that isn't what matters. The vital point is that interpretive canons try to become aware of the way wherein “an inexpensive reader, absolutely competent inside the language, could have understood the text at the time it turned into issued.” Id., at 33. To the quantity that interpretive canons accurately describe how the English language is generally used, they are useful gear. But they're not rigid regulations.

    Appellate judges spend really each working hour speaking, paying attention to, analyzing, or writing English prose. Statutes are written in English prose, and interpretation isn't always a technical exercising to be carried out with the aid of routinely applying a hard and fast of arcane guidelines. Canons of interpretation can help in figuring out the which means of tough statutory language, but if they may be treated like inflexible regulations, they are able to lead us off target. When this Court describes canons as policies or rates canons at the same time as omitting their caveats and obstacles, we best inspire the lower courts to relegate statutory interpretation to a series of if-then computations. No reasonable reader translates texts that manner.

    For those reasons, I respectfully concur in the judgment.

    Notes
    1 *As set out in Reading Law 147, this canon additionally applies while the modifier precedes the collection of verbs or nouns. Some pupils have claimed that “no person proposed [the series-qualifier] canon till Justice Scalia pioneered it” in Reading Law. Baude & Sachs, The Law of Interpretation, a hundred thirty Harv. L. Rev. 1079, 1125 (2017) (inner citation marks left out; emphasis deleted).
    Oral Argument - December 08, 2020
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