KATIA GUTIERREZ DE MARTINEZ, EDUARDO MARTINEZ PUCCINI and HENNY
MARTINEZ DE PAPAIANI, PETITIONERS v. DIRK A.
LAMAGNO et al.
on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the
[June 14, 1995]
, concurring in part and concurring Of course, I agree with the dissent,
post, at 4, that we ordinarily should construe statutes to avoid
serious constitutional questions, such as that discussed in Part IV of
the Court's opinion, when it is fairly possible to do so. See United
States v. X Citement Video, Inc., 513 U. S. ___, ___ (1994)
(slip op., at 14-15); Rust v. Sullivan, 500
U.S. 173, 223-225 (1991) (O'Connor, J., dissenting). And I recognize
that reversing the Court of Appeals' judgment in this case may make it
impossible to avoid deciding that question in a future case. But even such
an important canon of statutory construction as that favoring the avoidance
of serious constitutional questions does not always carry the day.
In this case, as described in detail by the Court, ante, at 5-17,
several other important legal principles, including the presumption in
favor of judicial review of executive action, ante, at 6, the prohibition
against allowing anyone " `to be a judge in his own cause,' " ante,
at 10 (quoting The Federalist No. 10, p. 79 (C. Rossiter ed., 1961) (J.
Madison)), the peculiarity inherent in concluding that Congress has "assigned
to the federal court only rubber stamp work," ante, at 11, and the
"sound general rule that Congress is deemed to avoid redundant drafting,"
post, at 7 (Souter, J., dissenting); ante, at 14-15, and
n. 10, point in the other direction. The highly unusual confluence of those
principles in this case persuades me that, despite the fact that the dissent's
reading has the virtue of avoiding the possibility that a difficult constitutional
question will arise in a future case, reversal is nonetheless the proper