The Meaning of “Is”

The four liberal Justices on the Supreme Court are still confused.  One of the underreported (the Wall Street Journal did its part here) end-of-term decisions that the Supreme Court announced was its ruling in California Public Employees’ Retirement System v ANZ Securities, Inc.  The Court held that the law means what it says, neither more nor less.

The case revolved around whether Calpers could proceed with a 2011 complaint over securities the pension fund purchased from offerings in 2007 and 2008. The Securities Act of 1933 says that in “no event” shall an action be brought “more than three years after the security was bona fide offered to the public.”

But Calpers’ 2011 filing was too late; it was past that three-year limit (even if only by months relative to the 2008 offerings).  Not minding how special Calpers is (a legend in its own mind as my wife puts it), the Supreme Court held that

the three-year limit “admits of no exception” and “creates a fixed bar against future liability[.]”

Interestingly, the ruling was only by a 5-4 vote.  The liberal faction of the Court was just as self-important, or perhaps confused, as Calpers in disdaining the law: with their four votes they ignored, or were confused by, the meanings of “no event” and of “three years.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *