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| itself, or in connection with other statutes pertaining to the same subject, is clear, certain and unambiguous, the courts have only the simple and obvious duty to enforce the law according to its terms. Cases cannot be included or excluded merely because there is intrinsically no reason against it.2 Even when a court is convinced that the legislature really meant and intended something not expressed by the phraseology of the act, it will not deem itself authorized to depart from the plain meaning of language which is free from ambiguity. If a legislative enactment violates no constitutional provision or principle, it must be deemed its own sufficient and conclusive evidence of the justice, propriety and policy of its passage. Courts have, then, no power to set it aside, or evade its operation by forced and unreasonable construction. If it has been passed improvidently, the responsibility is with the legislature and not with the courts." Whether the law be expressed in general or limited terms, the legislature should be held to mean what they have plainly expressed, and consequently no room is left for construction; but if, from a view of the whole law, or from other laws in pari materia, the evident intention is different from the literal import of the terms employed to express it in a particular part of the law, that intention should prevail, for that, in fact, is the will of the legislature."
Rosenplaenter v. Roessle, 54 N. Y. 262; Woodbury v. Berry, 18 Ohio St. 456, 462; Miller v. Salomons, 7 Ex. 560; Green v. Cheek, 5 Ind. 105; Douglass v. Chosen Freeholders, 38 N. J. L. 214; Story on Const. § 426.
2 Denn v. Reid, 10 Pet. 524; Pike v. Hoare, 2 Eden, 184; Ogden v. Strong, 2 Paine, 584.
3 Smith v. State, 66 Md. 215; Woodbury v. Berry, 18 Ohio St. 456; Bradbury v. Wagenhorst, 54 Pa. St. 182; St. Louis, etc. R. R. Co. v. Clark, 53 Mo. 214; Notley v. Buck, 8 B. & C. 164.
4 Flint, etc. Co. v. Woodhull, 25 Mich. 99; People v. Briggs, 50 N. Y. 553; Collin v. Knoblock, 25 La. Ann. 203;
Jewell v. Weed, 18 Minn. 272; Lower
5 Leonard v. Wiseman, 31 Md. 201; State v. Vicksburg, etc. R. R. Co. 51 Miss. 361; Rohrbacher v. City of Jackson, id. 735; Winter v. Jones, 10 Ga. 190; Douglass v. Chosen Freeholders, 38 N. J. L. 214; Ornamental Woodwork Co. v. Brown, 2 H. & C. 63; Mirehouse v. Rennell, 1 CL. & Fin, 546; May v. Great W. R'y Co. L. R. 7 Q. B. 377; Rex v. Poor Law Commissioners, 6 Ad. & E. 7.
6 United States v. Fisher, 2 Cr. 358; Farrell Foundry v. Dart, 26 Conn. 376, 382; Sneed v. Commonwealth, 6 Dana, 338; Abley v. Dale, 11 C. B. 378; Miller v. Salomons, 7 Ex. 475.
§ 238. If intent plainly expressed it is to be followed without further inquiry. When the meaning of a statute is clear, and its provisions are susceptible of but one interpretation, that sense must be accepted as the law; its consequences, if evil, can only be avoided by a change of the law itself, to be effected by the legislature and not by judicial construction.' But an interpretation of a statute which must lead to consequences which are mischievous and absurd is inadmissible if the statute is susceptible of another interpretation by which such consequences can be avoided. For this purpose all parts of a statute are to be read and compared. Still, when the words of a provision are plainly expressive of an intent not rendered dubious by the context, no interpretation can be permitted to thwart that intent; the interpretation must declare it, and it must be carried into effect as the sense of the law.3
In the case of Sturges v. Crowninshield the court say: "Although the spirit of the instrument, especially of the constitution, is to be respected not less than its letter, yet the spirit is to be collected chiefly from its words. It would be dangerous in the extreme to infer from extrinsic circumstances that a case for which the words of the instrument expressly provided shall be exempt from its operation. Where words conflict with each other, where the different clauses of the instrument bear upon each other, and would be inconsistent unless the natural and common import of the words be varied,
1 Bosley v. Mattingly, 14 B. Mon. 89; United States v. Ragsdale, Hempst. 497; Bartlett v. Morris, 9 Porter, 266; Att'y-Gen'l v. Sillem, 2 H. & C. 510; Kinderley v. Jervis, 25 L. J. Ch. 541; Arthur v. Morrison, 96 U. S. 108.
2 Caledonian R'y Co. v. North British R'y Co. L. R. 6 App. Cas. 122; State v. Wiltz, 11 La. Ann. 439; Ellis, Ex parte, 11 Cal. 222; Ryegate v. Wardsboro, 30 Vt. 746; Walton, Ex parte, L. R. 17 Ch. Div. 746; Gover's Case, L. R. 1 Ch. Div. 198; Wear River Commissioners v. Adamson, L. R. 1 Q. B. Div. 549; Vicar, etc. of St. Sepulchre's, Ex parte, 33 L. J. Ch. 373; Alvord v. Lent, 23 Mich. 372.
3 Douglass v. Chosen Freeholders, 38 N. J. L. 214; Bradbury v. Wagenhorst, 54 Pa. St. 182; Howard Association's Appeal, 70 id. 344; Johnson v. R. R. Co. 49 N. Y. 455; People v. Schoonmaker, 63 Barb. 49; United States v. Ragsdale, Hempst. 497; United States v. Warner, 4 McLean, 463; Farrell Foundry v. Dart, 26 Conn. 376; State v. Washoe Co. 6 Nev. 104; Bartlett v. Morris, 9 Port. 266; Fitzpatrick v. Gebhart, 7 Kan. 35; Miller v. Salomons, 7 Ex. 475; Abley v. Dale, 11 C. B. 378; Gwynne v. Burnell, 6 Bing. N. C. 559.
44 Wheat. 202.
construction becomes necessary; and to depart from the obvious meaning of words is justifiable. Yet, in no case, the plain meaning of a provision, not contradicted by any other provision in the same instrument, is to be disregarded because we believe the framers of that instrument could not intend what they say. It must be one in which the absurdity and injustice of applying the provision to the case would be so monstrous that all mankind would, without hesitation, unite in rejecting the application."
One who contends that a section of an act must not be read literally must be able to show one of two things: either that there is some other section which cuts down or expands its meaning, or else that the section itself is repugnant to the general purview. The question for the courts is, what did the legislature really intend to direct; and this intention must be sought in the whole of the act, taken together, and other acts in pari materia. If the language be plain, unambiguous and uncontrollable by other parts of the act, or other acts or laws upon the same subject, the courts cannot give it a different meaning to subserve public policy or to maintain its constitutionality. The limited meaning of words will be disregarded when it is obvious from the act itself that the use of the word was a clerical error, and that the legislature intended it in a different sense from its common meaning. Where that which is directed to be done is within the sphere of legislation, and the terms used clearly express the intent, all reasoning derived from the supposed inconvenience, or even absurdity, of the result is out of place. It is not the province of the courts to supervise legislation and keep it within the bounds of propriety and common sense.3
1Nuth v. Tamplin, L. R. 8 Q. B. Rex v. Banbury, 1 Ad. & E. 142; Div. 253. British Farmers', etc. Co., Re, 48 L. J.
2 Reynolds v. Holland, 35 Ark. 56; Ch. 56; Ornamental P. Woodwork Haney v. State, 34 Ark. 263.
3 Douglass v. Chosen Freeholders, 38 N. J. L. 214; Hyatt v. Taylor, 42 N. Y. 258, 262; Rosenplaenter v. Roessle, 54 id. 262; Bosley v. Mattingly, 14 B. Mon. 89; Abley v. Dale, 11 C. B. 391; Gwynne v. Burnell, 6 Bing. N.
C. 559; Miller v. Salomons, 7 Ex. 475;
Co. v. Brown, 2 H. & C. 63; Mirehouse v. Rennell, 1 Cl. & Fin. 546; Biffin v. Yorke, 5 Man. & Gr. 437; Rex v. Poor Law Commissioner, 6 Ad. & E. 7; May v. Great W. R'y Co. L. R. 7 Q. B. 377; Clark v. Railroad Co. 81 Me. 477.
§ 239. The intention is to be ascertained by considering the entire statute.- The practical inquiry is usually what a particular provision, clause or word means. To answer it one must proceed as he would with any other composition - construe it with reference to the leading idea or purpose of the whole instrument. The whole and every part must be considered. The general intent should be kept in view in determining the scope and meaning of any part. This survey and comparison are necessary to ascertain the purpose of the act and to make all the parts harmonious. They are to be brought into accord if practicable, and thus, if possible, give a sensible and intelligible effect to each in furtherance of the general design. A statute should be so construed as a whole, and its several parts, as most reasonably to accomplish the legislative purpose. If practicable, effect must be given to all the language employed, and inconsistent expressions are to be harmonized to reach the real intent of the legislature. It is said to be the most natural exposition of a statute to construe one part by another, for that expresses the meaning of the makers;
1 Georgia v. Atkins, 1 Abb. (U. S.) 22; State v. Atkins, 35 Ga. 319; Harrison, Ex parte, 4 Cow. 63; Strode v. Stafford Justices, 1 Brock. 162; Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat. 326; People v. Stevens, 13 Wend. 341; People v. Morris, id. 325; Hopkins v. Haywood, id. 265; Little Rock, etc. R. R. Co. v. Howell, 31 Ark. 119; Swart wout v. Railroad Co. 24 Mich. 389; City v. Schellinger, 15 Phila. 50; Regina v. Mallow Union, 12 Ir. C. L. (N. S.) 35; Nuth v. Tamplin, L. R. Q. B. Div. 253; Ellison v. Mobile, etc. R. R. Co. 36 Miss. 572; Bishop v. Barton, 2 Hun, 436; Shoemaker v. Lansing, 17 Wend. 327; People v. Commissioners, 3 Hill, 601; Parkinson v. State, 14 Md. 184; Chesapeake & O. Canal Co. v. Railroad Co. 4 Gill & J. 1; Magruder v. Carroll, 4 Md. 335; Attorney-General v. Detroit, etc. Co. 2 Mich. 138; Ryegate v. Wardsboro, 30 Vt. 746; State v. Weigel, 48 Mo. 29; Nichols v. Wells, Sneed (Ky.), 255;
Thompson v. Bulson, 78 Ill. 277; State v. Mayor, 35 N. J. L. 196; San Francisco v. Hazen, 5 Cal. 169; Taylor v. Palmer, 31 id. 240; Gates v. Salmon, 35 id. 576; Ogden v. Strong, 2 Paine, 584; Wilson v. Biscoe, 11 Ark. 44; Lion Ins. Asso. v. Tucker, L. R. 12 Q. B. Div. 180; Cope v. Doherty, 2 De G. & J. 614; Jefferys v. Boosey, 4 H. L. 815; Cearfoss v. State, 42 Md. 406; Commonwealth v. Duane, 1 Binn. 601; Commonwealth v. Alger, 7 Cush. 53, 89.
this exposition is ex verceribus actus. The words and meaning of one part may lead to and furnish an explanation of the sense of another. "To discover," says Pollock, C. B., "the true construction of any particular clause of a statute, the first thing to be attended to, no doubt, is the actual language of the clause itself, as introduced by the preamble; second, the words or expressions which obviously are by design omitted; third, the connection of the clause with other clauses in the same statute, and the conclusions which, on comparison with other clauses, may reasonably and obviously be drawn. . . If the comparison of one clause with the rest of the statute makes a certain proposition clear and undoubted, the act must be construed accordingly, and ought to be so construed as to make it a consistent whole. If, after all, it turns out that that cannot be done, the construction that produces the greatest harmony and the least inconsistency is that which ought to prevail." 993
§ 240. General intent of statute key to meaning of the parts. The presumption is that the law-maker has a definite purpose in every enactment, and has adapted and formulated the subsidiary provisions in harmony with that purpose; that these are needful to accomplish it; and that, if they have the intended effect, they will, at least, conduce to effectuate it. That purpose is an implied limitation on the sense of general terms, and a touchstone for the expansion of narrower terms. This intention affords a key to the sense and scope of minor provisions. From this assumption proceeds the general rule that the
1 Co. Litt. 381a.
2 Mayor v. Howard, 6 Har. & J. 388; Martin v. O'Brien, 34 Miss. 21; City of San Diego v. Granniss, 77 Cal. 511.
3 Attorney-General v. Sillem, 2 H. & C. 515.
4 Orange, etc. R. R. Co. v. Alexandria, 17 Gratt. 176; Jackson v. Bradt, 2 Cai. 303; Bryant, In re, Deady, 118; McCool v. Smith, 1 Black, 459; Rex v. Cornforth, 2 Str. 1162; Foster v. Collner, 107 Pa. St. 305; State v. Mann, 21 Wis. 684; Rice v. Railroad Co. 1 Black, 358, 377; Chapman v.
Miller, 128 Mass. 269; Eshleman's Appeal, 74 Pa. St. 42, 46; Bailey v. Commonwealth, 11 Bush, 688; Converse v. United States, 21 How. 463; Custin v. City of Viroqua, 67 Wis. 314.
Burr v. Dana, 22 Cal. 11; Burke v. Monroe Co. 77 Ill. 610; Commonwealth v. Council of Montrose. 52 Pa. St. 391; Maxwell v. Collins, 8 Ind. 38; Rex v. Inhabitants, 1 T. R. 96; McCool v. Smith, 1 Black, 459; Lee v. Barkhampsted, 46 Conn. 213; Haentze v. Howe, 28 Wis. 293; Berry v. Clary, 77 Me. 482; Ingraham v. Speed, 30 Miss. 410; Colbran v. Barnes, 11 C. B.