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Law Commons

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Legislation

Statutory interpretation

Faculty Scholarship

Fordham Law School

2005

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …