On April 1, 2021, the Supreme Court adhered to textualist principles of statutory interpretation in refusing to interpret a federal law as applying to fast-moving technology. The petitioner in the case, Facebook, argued that the plain words of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act require that an autodialer use “a random or sequential number generator.” Some courts, however, had decided that the TCPA’s definition of an autodialer requires merely that a device be able to store telephone numbers and then dial them. Those courts have been all too quick to enlist the TCPA’s overall “purpose” and Congress’s general “intent” in their cause. In its amicus brief, WLF observed that the case fits within a larger pattern of unwarrantable expansion of the TCPA. Although it might seem like a good idea for a court to try to “fix” the TCPA to keep up with the times, doing so, WLF argued, simply invites Congress to put off the hard work of crafting solutions itself. The Supreme Court’s decision, reversing the Ninth Circuit, will help to ensure that Congress cannot defer legislating to the courts.



WLF amicus brief