Mechanical Turk Jurisprudence

29 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 8 Nov 2021

See all articles by Shlomo Klapper

Shlomo Klapper

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Date Written: September 23, 2021


This paper argues that data-driven interpretation creates a “Mechanical Turk” jurisprudence: a jurisprudence that appears mechanical but in fact is thoroughly human.

Its contribution to the literature is twofold.

First, it articulates an intellectual history of data-driven interpretation: data-driven tools have been adopted because society associates quantification with a mechanical objectivity and because objectivity is at the center of debates over statutory interpretation.

Second, it criticizes surveys as an interpretative tool: in addition to a host of practical execution problems, surveys misunderstand the concept of “ordinary meaning” and threaten to undermine the value of faithful agency.

Keywords: statutory interpretation, experimental jurisprudence, textualism, purposivism, surveys, corpus linguistics, Drax, faithful agency

Suggested Citation

Klapper, Shlomo, Mechanical Turk Jurisprudence (September 23, 2021). Brooklyn Law Review , Vol. 86, No. 2, 2021, Available at SSRN:

Shlomo Klapper (Contact Author)

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ( email )

40 Foley Square
New York, NY 10007
United States

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