Alito, J., dissenting
at 13–14. To change the meaning of language in an already enacted law, Congress must pass a new law amending that language. See, e.g., West Virginia Univ. Hospitals, Inc. v. Casey, 499 U. S. 83, 100, 101, and n. 7 (1991). Intent that finds no expression in a statute is irrelevant. See, e.g., New York Telephone Co. v. New York State Dept. of Labor, 440 U. S. 519, 544–545 (1979); Easterbrook, Statutes' Domains, 50 U. Chi. L. Rev. 533, 538–540 (1983). Hence, "we walk on quicksand when we try to find in the absence of corrective legislation a controlling legal principle." Helvering v. Hallock, 309 U. S. 106, 121 (1940).
Unsurprisingly, we have rejected identical arguments about implicit ratification in other cases. For example, in Central Bank of Denver, N. A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N. A., 511 U. S. 164 (1994), a party argued that §10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 imposes liability on aiders and abettors because "Congress ha[d] amended the securities laws on various occasions since 1966, when courts first began to interpret §10(b) to cover aiding and abetting, but ha[d] done so without providing that aiding and abetting liability is not available under §10(b)." Id., at 186. "From that," a party asked the Court
- In any event, the Court overstates the importance of that failed amendment. The amendment’s sponsor disavowed that it had anything to do with the broader question whether the FHA authorizes disparate-impact suits. Rather, it "left to caselaw and eventual Supreme Court resolution whether a discriminatory intent or discriminatory effects standard is appropriate . . . [in] all situations but zoning." H. R. Rep. No. 100–711, p. 89 (1988). Some in Congress, moreover, supported the amendment and the House bill. Compare ibid. with 134 Cong. Rec. 16511 (1988). It is hard to believe they thought the bill—which was silent on disparate impact—nonetheless decided the broader question. It is for such reasons that failed amendments tell us "little" about what a statute means. Central Bank of Denver, N. A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N. A., 511 U. S. 164, 187 (1994). Footnotes in House Reports and law professor testimony tell us even less. Ante, at 13–14.