Skip to main content

The Supreme Court and a Sick Giraffe

“If a sign at the entrance to a zoo says ‘come see the elephant, lion, hippo, and giraffe,’ and a temporary sign is added saying ‘the giraffe is sick,’ you would reasonably assume that the others are in good health.” N.L.R.B. v. SW Gen., Inc., 137 S. Ct. 929, 940 (2017) (Roberts, J.).

That is the analogy Chief Justice Roberts used when explaining the term: expressio unius est exclusio alterius, which means “expressing one item of [an] associated group or series excludes another left unmentioned.” Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Echazabal, 536 U.S. 73, 80 (2002).

I have used Justice Roberts’s Zoo Animal analogy when making a statutory construction argument, not just because it was fun, but because it helped me make my argument.

Effective writing is when you communicate your argument clearly so that the reader does not have to work to “get it.” And analogies, like Justice Robert’s Zoo Animal analogy, help with that.

(Analogies also help when speaking to juries, but more on that in a later post).

Takeaway: Analogies help, so use them.

Excellent

Based On 98 Reviews

  • $10,000,000

    Defendant, while racing on a residential road, crashed into an oncoming driver causing catastrophic injuries.

  • $9,000,000

    Defendant failed to properly secure a display at its store which led to it falling on a child causing life altering injuries.

  • $1,500,000

    Defendant failed to keep the entrance of its store safe for the public causing significant injuries. 

    Let’s Get Started

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Understanding Virginia Hands-Free Driving Laws

    May 17, 2024
    In recent years, there have been rising concerns about distracted driving – In particular, the use of cell phones (and other handheld devices) while driving.  In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly responded by passing significant updates to the Virginia cell phone law. Now, it’s illegal to hold a cell phone while driving, except for rare […]

    Types of Burn Injuries And When To Call a Lawyer

    May 1, 2024
    Burn injuries are among the most gruesome, painful, and traumatic injuries you can ensure. They’re not just painful – They can also lead to devastating financial pitfalls, countless hours negotiating with insurers, and unbelievable levels of stress.  Understanding the various types of burn injuries, their impact, and when to call a burn injury lawyer is […]

    Is Lane Splitting Legal in Virginia?

    April 24, 2024
    Motorcycle accidents can result in serious, sometimes fatal injuries. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash in Virginia, it’s absolutely crucial to understand Virginia motorcycle laws—especially those about lane splitting—to determine liability and protect your rights. If you’ve suffered injuries due to lane splitting, contact us to speak with a Virginia motorcycle accident attorney […]