Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1282226
 


 



The Food Stays in the Kitchen: Everything I Needed to Know About Statutory Interpretation I Learned by the Time I Was Nine


Hillel Y. Levin


University of Georgia Law School

October 10, 2008

Green Bag 2D, Vol. 12, p. 337, 2009

Abstract:     
What happens when kids and their parents interpret laws like lawyers and judges? Where and why does interpretation go off the rails?

Based on a true story, this piece starts with a proclamation by Mother, the Supreme Lawmaker, that "no food may be eaten outside the kitchen." What follows is a series of rulings by Judges - father, babysitter, grandma (a liberal jurist, of course), etc. - who, using traditional tools of interpretation, eventually declare it to mean that all food may be eaten outside of the kitchen. Ultimately, the supreme lawmaker reacts and clarifies.

The piece is meant to demonstrate the following:
* We all regularly use the basic tools and modes of statutory interpretation;
* When we interpret pronouncements in real life, we resort to a mix of textualist, literalist, purposivist, legal process, precedent, and other techniques and sources;
* Although the various tools seem perfectly reasonable individually, in the aggregate, they can lead to ridiculous results;
* Even when we agree that the ultimate results are ridiculous, it is sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly where the error occurred;
* The legislature can sometimes clean up after bad judicial opinions, but it often takes a long time.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: October 28, 2008 ; Last revised: February 13, 2011

Suggested Citation

Levin, Hillel Y., The Food Stays in the Kitchen: Everything I Needed to Know About Statutory Interpretation I Learned by the Time I Was Nine (October 10, 2008). Green Bag 2D, Vol. 12, p. 337, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1282226

Contact Information

Hillel Y. Levin (Contact Author)
University of Georgia Law School ( email )
Athens, GA 30602
United States

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 6,167
Downloads: 2,127
Download Rank: 3,126

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.266 seconds