The Real Politick of Writing and Reading Statutes
Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law
October 6, 2011
Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 76, No. 3, pp. 967-977, 2011
Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-28
How much work does language do in the interpretation of statutes? Justice Antonin Scalia, in his twenty-fifth year on the bench, tells us that it should and can do most of that work. But whatever the virtue of that argument, in most appellate court cases, text cannot carry the load. In this article that tension between theory and reality is discussed through a frank discussion with a number of Third Circuit Judges and former members of Congress. This discussion shows the disconnect between the legislative and judicial branches, judicial frustrations with statutes that do not provide clear answers to litigated question, and the difficulty of trying to establish legislative meaning in such cases.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: Statutory interpretation, Holy Trinity Church, Justice Antonin Scalia, separation of powers, plain meaning, legislative history, legislative drafting
Date posted: October 6, 2011
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