Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2161858
 
 

Footnotes (354)



 


 



A Decision Theory of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History by the Rules


Victoria Nourse


Georgetown University Law Center

2012

Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, pp. 70-152, 2012
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-150

Abstract:     
We have a law of civil procedure, criminal procedure, and administrative procedure, but we have no law of legislative procedure. This failure has serious consequences in the field of statutory interpretation. Using simple rules garnered from Congress itself, this Article argues that those rules are capable of transforming the field of statutory interpretation. Addressing canonical cases in the field, from Holy Trinity to Bock Laundry, from Weber to Public Citizen, this article shows how cases studied by vast numbers of law students are made substantially more manageable, and in some cases quite simple, through knowledge of congressional procedure. No longer need legislative history always be a search for one’s friends.

Call this a decision theory of statutory interpretation. This approach is based on how Congress does in fact make decisions and thus is a positive theory. Normatively, it has the advantage of privileging text without blinding judges either to relevant information or to their duty to implement Congress’s decisions, including Congress’s own decisionmaking methods. It may also have the side benefit of reducing legislative incentives to manipulate the rules or to engage in strategic behavior to induce particular statutory interpretations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 84

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 9, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Nourse, Victoria, A Decision Theory of Statutory Interpretation: Legislative History by the Rules (2012). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, pp. 70-152, 2012; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 12-150. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2161858

Contact Information

Victoria F. Nourse (Contact Author)
Georgetown University Law Center ( email )
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,722
Downloads: 419
Download Rank: 37,993
Footnotes:  354

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.297 seconds