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In the ordinary case, courts simply apply the unambiguous terms of a statute to the case before them. See Chevron, U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842, 81 L. Ed. 2d 694, 104 S. Ct. 2778 (1984) ('If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress.').


If the language of the statute is not clear on its face, courts examine the specific and general statutory context in which the phrase is used in an effort to discern a determinate meaning. See Robinson v. Shell Oil Co., 519 U.S. 337, 341, 136 L. Ed. 2d 808, 117 S. Ct. 843 (1997) ('The plainness or ambiguity of statutory language is determined by reference to the language itself, the specific context in which that language is used, and the broader context of the statute as a whole'); Estate of Cowart v. Nicklos Drilling Co., 505 U.S. 469, 477, 120 L. Ed. 2d 379, 112 S. Ct. 2589 (1992); McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 139, 114 L. Ed. 2d 194, ...

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