Dual Construction of RICO: The Road Not Taken in Reves
36 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019
Date Written: January 1, 1994
This is an article about RICO and about a larger problem in statutory construction.
Judge Mikva of the D.C. Circuit captured the essence of the problem when, questioning his colleagues' attempt to narrow RICO's scope he asked "Why is one element of the statute properly deemed broad while another read narrowly?" This Article tries to answer that question.
This Article develops a rationale for the seminal Supreme Court decision in Reves v. Ernst & Young, 507 U.S. 170 (1993) that may help resolve other issues that arise because of the interplay between conflicting provisions in RICO and in other statutes.
My thesis is that RICO should be interpreted narrowly in some cases and broadly in others, depending on the nature of the issue before the court. The suggested method of interpretation does no more than recognize and apply the fact that RICO has both a remedial and punitive purpose to it. These dual purposes support the use of a dual construction doctrine to resolve statutory ambiguity and answer Judge Mikva's question. The thesis is supported by logic, policy, legislative history...and over 100 years of state and federal court precedent.
Keywords: statutory construction, dual purpose, dual interpretation, dual construction, statutory interpretation, RICO
JEL Classification: K1, K39, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation