Making Meaning: Towards a Narrative Theory of Statutory Interpretation and Judicial Justification

60 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2017 Last revised: 7 Nov 2018

See all articles by Randy Gordon

Randy Gordon

Texas A&M University School of Law; Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Date Written: September 14, 2017

Abstract

The act of judging is complex involving finding facts, interpreting law, and then deciding a particular dispute. But these are not discreet functions: they bleed into one another and are thus interdependent. This article aims to reveal—at least in part—how judges approach this process. To do so, I look at three sets of civil RICO cases that align and diverge from civil antitrust precedents. I then posit that the judges in these cases base their decisions on assumptions about RICO’s purpose. These assumptions, though often tacit and therefore not subject to direct observation, are nonetheless sometimes revealed when a judge narrates legislative history. I conclude by remarking that a narrative theory of interpretation and justification may have universal relevance.

Keywords: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, RICO, Sherman Act, Clayton Act, antitrust extraterritoriality, legal theory, interpretation, justification, narrative, narrativity, history, legislative history, statutory purpose, legislative intent

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Randy, Making Meaning: Towards a Narrative Theory of Statutory Interpretation and Judicial Justification (September 14, 2017). 12 Ohio State Bus. L.J. 1 (2017) ; Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-64. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3037211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3037211

Randy Gordon (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States
817-212-3941 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.tamu.edu/faculty-staff/find-people/faculty-profiles/randy-d-gordon

Barnes & Thornburg LLP ( email )

2121 N Pearl St
Suite 700
Dallas, TX 75201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.btlaw.com/

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