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Faculty Publications

St. John's University School of Law

Contracts

Legislation

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Are Statutes Really "Legislative Bargains"? The Failure Of The Contract Analogy In Statutory Interpretation, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 1998

Are Statutes Really "Legislative Bargains"? The Failure Of The Contract Analogy In Statutory Interpretation, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

Recent scholarship draws an analogy between contract and statutory interpretation. In this Article, Professor Movsesian explores and rejects that analogy. There are key differences between contracts and statutes, he argues; the intentionalism of contemporary contract law is inappropriate in the context of statutory interpretation. After critically examining the literature on the topic and demonstrating the operative distinctions between contracts and statutes, Professor Movsesian provides a useful illustration in the form of the famous case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States. Professor Movsesian shows how a comparison of contract and statutory interpretation sheds light on a number of …


Severability In Statutes And Contracts, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 1995

Severability In Statutes And Contracts, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

Established doctrine on the severability of unconstitutional statutory provisions has drawn criticism on almost every conceivable basis. Commentators have condemned severability doctrine as too malleable and as too rigid; as encouraging judicial overreaching and as encouraging judicial abdication. They have criticized the doctrine's reliance on legislative intent and its disregard of legislative intent; its excessive attention to political concerns and its inattention to political concerns; its lack of any coherent explanation.

The reasons for this lingering controversy are easy to discern. One is purely pragmatic. "We live in an age of statutes." Legislation provides our primary source of law in …