The Real Politick of Writing and Reading Statutes

13 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2011  

Eric Lane

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Date Written: October 6, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Statutory interpretation, Holy Trinity Church, Justice Antonin Scalia, separation of powers, plain meaning, legislative history, legislative drafting

Suggested Citation

Lane, Eric, The Real Politick of Writing and Reading Statutes (October 6, 2011). Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 76, No. 3, pp. 967-977, 2011; Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1939836

Eric Lane (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
516-463-5886 (Phone)
516-463-4800 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hofstra.edu/academics/law/law_lane.cfm

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