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The Originalist Case Against Congressional Supermajority Voting Rules, Dan T. Coenen Jan 2012

The Originalist Case Against Congressional Supermajority Voting Rules, Dan T. Coenen

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Controversy over the Senate’s filibuster practice dominates modern discussion of American legislative government. With increasing frequency, commentators have urged that the upper chamber’s requirement of sixty votes to close debate on pending matters violates a majority-rulebased norm of constitutional law. Proponents of this view, however, tend to gloss over a more basic question: Does the Constitution’s Rules of Proceedings Clause permit the houses of Congress to adopt internal parliamentary requirements under which a bill is deemed “passed” only if it receives supermajority support? This question is important. Indeed, the House already has such a rule in place ...


Contemporary Meaning And Expectations In Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin Jan 2012

Contemporary Meaning And Expectations In Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin

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This Article introduces and explores an approach to, or theme within, statutory interpretation, one grounded in contemporary meaning and expectations. This approach posits that judges interpreting ambiguous statutes are and should be constrained by the understanding and expectations of the contemporary public as to the law’s meaning and application. These are developed in response to, and mediated by, the actions and statements of government officials and the broader community. The Article argues that this apparently radical approach is necessary in order for law to maintain its moral force, and further that the principles underlying it are embedded in several ...