A Comida Fica Na Cozinha: Tudo Que EU Precisava Saber Sobre a Interpretação De Um Estatuto EU Aprendi Quando Tinha 9 Anos (Food Stays in the Kitchen: Everything I Needed to Learn About Statutory Interpretation I Learned by the Time I Was Nine)

4 Braz. J. Pub. Pol'y 22 (2014)

12 Green Bag 337 (2009)

UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-21

13 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2014

See all articles by Hillel Y. Levin

Hillel Y. Levin

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Portuguese Abstract: O Regulamento proíbe que a "comida" seja ingerida fora da cozinha. Esta proibição não se aplica a água, que é considerada bebida ao invés de comida. Nossa interpretação é confirmada pelo dicionário Webster, que define o significado de comida, no que importa, como "material consistente essencialmente de proteína, carboidrato e gordura utilizada pelo corpo de um organismo para manter o crescimento, reparar o processo vital e fornecer energia" e "nutrição em forma sólida." Claramente, água, que não contém proteína, carboidrato ou gordura e que não é forma sólida, não é comida.

English 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.

Note: Downloadable document is in Portuguese.

Keywords: statutory interpretation, legal analysis

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Levin, Hillel Y., A Comida Fica Na Cozinha: Tudo Que EU Precisava Saber Sobre a Interpretação De Um Estatuto EU Aprendi Quando Tinha 9 Anos (Food Stays in the Kitchen: Everything I Needed to Learn About Statutory Interpretation I Learned by the Time I Was Nine) (2014). 4 Braz. J. Pub. Pol'y 22 (2014); 12 Green Bag 337 (2009); UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2477074

Hillel Y. Levin (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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