Judging Statutes: Interpretive Regimes

62 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2007  

Nancy C. Staudt

Washington University Law School

Lee Epstein

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Peter J. Wiedenbeck

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

René Lindstädt

University of Essex - Department of Government

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

Theories of statutory interpretation abound. Scholars, judges and commentators have long puzzled over the best method to locate the meaning of a statute and to this end have proposed a range of approaches that rely on various forms of evidence, including statutory text, legislative intent, agency interpretations, cultural norms, and judicial precedent. These theories do not merely offer competing modes of analysis: they also highlight competition among and between federal actors for control over the law-making process.

In this Symposium essay, we not defend an interpretive approach; many others have done that. Nor do we seek to develop a novel understanding of statutory interpretation; others have done that as well. Rather our goal is something more modest: to provide a descriptive mapping of statutory interpretation in the business context - specifically, in disputes over the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code. To that end, we analyze every tax ase decided by the Supreme Court since Congress adopted the modern tax law, with an eye for identifying the various rationales deployed by the justices, as well as the some commonly held-beliefs about trends in statutory interpretation over time.

Keywords: courts, statutory interpretation, tax, empirical

Suggested Citation

Staudt, Nancy C. and Epstein, Lee and Wiedenbeck, Peter J. and Lindstädt, René and Vander Wielen, Ryan J., Judging Statutes: Interpretive Regimes. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Symposium on Statutory Interpretation, Vol. 38, p. 1909, 2005; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 07-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=978962

Nancy Christine Staudt (Contact Author)

Washington University Law School ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Lee Epstein

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

HOME PAGE: http://epstein.wustl.edu

Peter J. Wiedenbeck

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Rene Lindstaedt

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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