Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The New Holy Trinity

15 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2015 Last revised: 1 Oct 2015

Richard M. Re

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: August 24, 2015

Abstract

There’s a familiar story about statutory interpretation in the Supreme Court. Once upon a time, the Court cared primarily about legislative purpose, even if it defied clear statutory text. But then Antonin Scalia came to town, became a justice, and laid down a new law: textualism. Central to Scalia’s success was his association of purposivism with a century-old precedent called Holy Trinity. Recently, however, purposivism seems to have evolved and, as a result, to have gotten the upper hand. Instead of adhering to Scalia's New Textualism, the Roberts Court has repeatedly and visibly embraced what might be called “The New Holy Trinity.” This approach calls for consideration of non-textual factors when determining how much clarity is required for a text to be clear. This apparent methodological shift merits attention -- and may have implications for constitutional law.

Keywords: statutory interpretation, textualism, purposivism

Suggested Citation

Re, Richard M., The New Holy Trinity (August 24, 2015). 18 Green Bag 2d 407 (2015); UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 15-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2650163

Richard Re (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
365
Rank
69,095
Abstract Views
1,597