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Legislation

Statutory interpretation

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Fordham Law School

Articles 1 - 9 of 9

Full-Text Articles in Law

Distrust And Clarify: Appreciating Congressional Overrides, James J. Brudney Jan 2012

Distrust And Clarify: Appreciating Congressional Overrides, James J. Brudney

Faculty Scholarship

Deborah Widiss continues to make important contributions in an area of statutory interpretation that has been largely neglected: the consequences of congressional overrides. Professor Widiss previously demonstrated how the Supreme Court and lower courts often confine the reach of statutes that purposefully override prior court decisions, thereby reviving aspects of the overridden judicial interpretations as ―shadow precedents.‖ In Undermining Congressional Overrides: The Hydra Problem in Statutory Interpretation, Professor Widiss addresses the Supreme Court‘s further expansion of judicial power in the aftermath of congressional disapproval. Faced with the override of its textual interpretation in one employment discrimination statute, the Court inferred …


The Costs Of Consensus In Statutory Construction, Ethan J. Leib, Michael Serota Jan 2010

The Costs Of Consensus In Statutory Construction, Ethan J. Leib, Michael Serota

Faculty Scholarship

Finding methodological consensus for statutory interpretation cases is all the rage these days.1 Some in the academy sing the praises of a singular judicial approach to questions of statutory interpretation and bemoan the frustrations associated with judges implementing a mélange of interpretive techniques. And now, thanks to Abbe Gluck’s authoritative article, Laboratories of Statutory Interpretation, proponents of interpretive uniformity have evidence that some state courts seem to be applying methodological stare decisis to decide questions of statutory interpretation. After exhaustive reading and analysis of state statutory interpretation cases—cases that have received far less attention than their federal counterparts—Gluck describes several …


Canon Shortfalls And The Virtues Of Political Branch Interpretive Assets Tribute Issue In Honor Of Philip P. Frickey: Festschrift, James J. Brudney Jan 2010

Canon Shortfalls And The Virtues Of Political Branch Interpretive Assets Tribute Issue In Honor Of Philip P. Frickey: Festschrift, James J. Brudney

Faculty Scholarship

As a legislation scholar, Philip Frickey was present at the creation.I Along with his coauthor William Eskridge, Frickey reconceptualized the field of legislation and statutory interpretation. In doing so, he opened the door to an unparalleled period of inquiry and debate about the meaning of statutes, among both judges and academics. The Eskridge and Frickey casebook, published in 1988, was justly hailed by Judge Richard Posner as having "done for legislation what Hart and Sacks did for legal process, or Hart and Wechsler for federal courts: it has demonstrated the existence of a subject." Over the ensuing two decades, Frickey …


Supreme Court As Interstitial Actor: Justice Ginsburg's Eclectic Approach To Statutory Interpretation Symposium: The Jurisprudence Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: A Discussion Of Fifteen Years On The U.S. Supreme Court, James J. Brudney Jan 2009

Supreme Court As Interstitial Actor: Justice Ginsburg's Eclectic Approach To Statutory Interpretation Symposium: The Jurisprudence Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg: A Discussion Of Fifteen Years On The U.S. Supreme Court, James J. Brudney

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court is in the midst of an extended debate regarding the proper approach to construing federal statutes. A number of Justices have engaged in heated dialogue addressing the pros and cons of textualism or intentionalism, as well as the virtues and limitations of Chevron deference. Although Justice Ginsburg has not participated in these judicial exchanges, she has adopted her own approach to the challenge of interpreting federal statutes. This Article explores Ginsburg’s approach by focusing on four opinions that construe federal criminal laws and three that interpret labor relations and anti-discrimination laws. The Article’s central thesis is that …


The Warp And Woof Of Statutory Interpretation: Comparing Supreme Court Approaches In Tax Law And Workplace Law, James J. Brudney, Corey Distlear Jan 2009

The Warp And Woof Of Statutory Interpretation: Comparing Supreme Court Approaches In Tax Law And Workplace Law, James J. Brudney, Corey Distlear

Faculty Scholarship

Debates about statutory interpretation-and especially about the role of the canons of construction and legislative history-are generally framed in one-size-fits-all terms. Yet federal judges including most Supreme Court Justices-have not approached statutory interpretation from a methodologically uniform perspective. This Article presents the first in-depth examination of interpretive approaches taken in two distinct subject areas over an extended period of time. Professors Brudney and Ditslear compare how the Supreme Court has relied on legislative history and the canons of construction when construing tax statutes and workplace statutes from 1969 to 2008. The authors conclude that the Justices tend to rely on …


Below The Surface: Comparing Legislative History Usage By The House Of Lords And The Supreme Court , James J. Brudney Jan 2007

Below The Surface: Comparing Legislative History Usage By The House Of Lords And The Supreme Court , James J. Brudney

Faculty Scholarship

In 1992, the Law Lords (the judicial arm of the House of Lords) overruled more than two centuries of precedent when it decided in Pepper v. Hart that courts could refer to and rely on legislative history to aid in construing enacted laws. The ensuing fourteen years have witnessed a robust debate among British judges and legal scholars as to the scope and propriety of Pepper. This article offers the first empirical and comparative analysis of how Britain's highest court has used previously excluded legislative history materials in its judicial decisions. Although the Law Lords opened the door to reliance …


Intentionalism's Revival , James J. Brudney Jan 2007

Intentionalism's Revival , James J. Brudney

Faculty Scholarship

This essay responds to an article by Professors Boudreau, Lupia, McCubbins, and Rodriguez (hereinafter "BLMRod") that was posted in Legislation and Statutory Interpretation Abstracts on July 26, 2007, (http://ssrn.com/abstract=997924) and that will appear in the San Diego Law Review, vol.44, no.2, 2007. The essay situates BLMRod's article in the context of recent efforts by a number of scholars to reclaim foundational legitimacy for intentionalism as an approach to construing statutes. The essay first applauds BLMRod's use of insights from communication theory to conceptualize statutes as compressed substantive or procedural commands that cannot be adequately understood without an appreciation for the …


Canons Of Construction And The Elusive Quest For Neutral Reasoning, James J. Brudney, Corey Distlear Jan 2005

Canons Of Construction And The Elusive Quest For Neutral Reasoning, James J. Brudney, Corey Distlear

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past 15 years, the canons of construction have experienced a remarkable revival in the courts and the legal academy. While the role of this interpretive resource has been heavily theorized, it has until now been under-explored from an empirical standpoint. This article adopts a novel combination of empirical and doctrinal analysis to uncover the Supreme Court's complex patterns of reliance on the canons over a 34-year period. We focus on whether the canons are favored across different time periods, in particular subject matter areas, by individual justices, and in close cases. Our approach - identifying ten different interpretive …


Work Of Knowledge , Abner S. Greene Jan 1996

Work Of Knowledge , Abner S. Greene

Faculty Scholarship

Interpretation involves the acquisition of knowledge. We are continually confronted with the results of purposive action. Sometimes these results are written texts, such as statutes or novels. Other times these results are events in the physical world, actions that we observe or the results of actions about which we are told. To make sense of these results of purposive action, that is, to make the results be more than just a jumble of sense impressions, the observer must find a way of organizing the material with which he or she is presented. These methods of organizing the results of purposive …