When General Statutes and Specific Statutes Conflict
5 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2010
Date Written: July 12, 2010
State and federal legislatures are enacting more laws than they did a generation ago; and often do so in haste and without sufficient care. One result is that new statutes sometimes conflict with previously-enacted ones.
How should courts decide cases when two or more statutes apply dictate conflicting results? One traditional canon of statutory construction is that, when they conflict, a specific statute controls a general statute regardless of which came first. This Interpretation Matters installment examines courts' application of that canon to state and local tax controversies.
Keywords: legislation, statutory construction, state and local taxes
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