Constitutional Avoidance

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Constitutional Avoidance is the principal that, if possible, the Supreme Court should avoid ruling on constitutional issues, and resolve the cases before them on other (usually statutory) grounds.  In practice, what this often means is that if the Supreme Court is faced with two possible interpretations of a statute, one of which is plainly constitutional, and the other of which is of questionable constitutionality, the court will interpret the statute as having the plainly constitutional meaning, to avoid the hard constitutional questions that would come with the other interpretation.