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Full-Text Articles in Law

On Foxes And Hedgehogs, Roger P. Alford Jan 2022

On Foxes And Hedgehogs, Roger P. Alford

Journal Articles

This Article is about John Nagle’s many means to one great end. It will outline the many themes of his scholarship: (i) environmental law, (ii) statutory interpretation, (iii) constitutional law, (iv) nuisance and pollution, (v) election law and campaign finance, (vi) Christianity and the environment, and (vii) national parks. It will offer conclusions on how he used his scholarly interests as a means to pursue his overarching worldview.


The Mischief Rule, Samuel L. Bray Jan 2021

The Mischief Rule, Samuel L. Bray

Journal Articles

The mischief rule tells an interpreter to read a statute in light of the “mischief” or “evil”—the problem that prompted the statute. The mischief rule has been associated with Blackstone’s appeal to a statute’s “reason and spirit” and with Hart-and-Sacks-style purposivism. Justice Scalia rejected the mischief rule. But the rule is widely misunderstood, both by those inclined to love it and those inclined to hate it. This Article reconsiders the mischief rule. It shows that the rule has two enduringly useful functions: guiding an interpreter to a stopping point for statutory language that can be given a broader or narrower …


Statutory Interpretation, Administrative Deference, And The Law Of Stare Decisis, Randy J. Kozel May 2019

Statutory Interpretation, Administrative Deference, And The Law Of Stare Decisis, Randy J. Kozel

Journal Articles

This Article examines three facets of the relationship between statutory interpretation and the law of stare decisis: judicial interpretation, administrative interpretation, and interpretive methodology. In analyzing these issues, I emphasize the role of stare decisis in pursuing balance between past and present. That role admits of no distinction between statutory and constitutional decisions, calling into question the practice of giving superstrong deference to judicial interpretations of statutes. The pursuit of balance also suggests that one Supreme Court cannot bind future Justices to a wide-ranging interpretive methodology. As for rules requiring deference to administrative interpretations of statutes and regulations, they are …


Technical Standards Meet Administrative Law: A Teaching Guide On Incorporation By Reference, Emily S. Bremer Jan 2019

Technical Standards Meet Administrative Law: A Teaching Guide On Incorporation By Reference, Emily S. Bremer

Journal Articles

When an agency incorporates by reference, it promulgates a rule that identifies—but does not reprint—material already published elsewhere. The incorporated materials thus become binding law without actually being printed in the agency's regulations. Sometimes the incorporated materials are privately developed technical standards, which are often copyrighted and available only for a fee. This restriction on access undermines transparency and public participation in the rulemaking process. Finding a solution is challenging because the problem is multidimensional, implicating public policy in the areas of administrative law, federal standards law and policy, and copyright.

This teaching guide is part of module that offers …


Democratizing Interpretation, Anya Bernstein Nov 2018

Democratizing Interpretation, Anya Bernstein

Journal Articles

Judges interpreting statutes sometimes seem eager to outsource the work. They quote ordinary speakers to define a statutory term, point to how an audience understands it, or pin it down with interpretive canons. But sometimes conduct that appears to diminish someone’s power instead sneakily enhances it. So it is, I argue, with these forms of interpretive outsourcing. Each seems to constrain judges’ authority by handing the reins to someone else, giving interpretation a democratized veneer. But in fact each funnels power right back to the judge.

The outsourcing approaches I describe show a disconnect between the questions judges pose and …


Before Interpretation, Anya Bernstein Apr 2017

Before Interpretation, Anya Bernstein

Journal Articles

What a statutory interpretation opinion interprets may seem given. It is not: this article shows how judges select what text to interpret. That text may seem to carry with it one of a limited range of contexts. It does not: this article shows how judges draw on a variety of factors to situate the texts they interpret in unique, case-specific contexts. Selecting and situating form the infrastructure of interpretation. Their creativity and choice provide the basis on which assertions of determinate meaning are made. That process reveals how contestation and indeterminacy permeate legal interpretation even as judicial opinions seek to …


Justice Scalia, Implied Rights Of Action, And Historical Practice, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2017

Justice Scalia, Implied Rights Of Action, And Historical Practice, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

In the realm of Federal Courts, the question of “implied rights of action” asks when, if ever, may a plaintiff bring a federal right of action for the violation of a federal statute that does not expressly create one. Justice Scalia argued that a court should not entertain an action for damages for the violation of a federal statute unless the text of the statute demonstrates that Congress meant to create a right of action. The Supreme Court adopted this approach in 2001 in Alexander v. Sandoval, with Justice Scalia writing for the majority. Certain judges and scholars have argued …


Differentiating Deference, Anya Bernstein Jan 2016

Differentiating Deference, Anya Bernstein

Journal Articles

When an administrative agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statutory term is challenged in court, the Chevron doctrine instructs judges to evaluate whether it is reasonable. But how does a court know reasonableness when it sees it? Here, I first show that reasonableness review is more complex than it might seem. Contrary to common images, for instance, courts do not determine a range of reasonable interpretations; and that is a good thing, because they are not competent to do so. Moreover, because traditional statutory interpretation approaches presume the existence of one correct meaning for a given word, they are not well …


Interpreting Force Authorization, Scott Sullivan Oct 2015

Interpreting Force Authorization, Scott Sullivan

Journal Articles

This Article presents a theory of authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs) that reconciles separation of power failures in the current interpretive model. Existing doctrine applies the same text-driven models of statutory interpretation to AUMFs that are utilized with all other legal instruments. However, the conditions at birth, objectives, and expected impacts underlying military force authorizations differ dramatically from typical legislation. AUMFs are focused but temporary corrective interventions intended to change the underlying facts that prompted their passage. This Article examines historical practice and utilizes institutionalist principles to develop a theory of AUMF decay that eschews text in …


Statutory Constraints And Constitutional Decisionmaking, Anthony O'Rourke Jan 2015

Statutory Constraints And Constitutional Decisionmaking, Anthony O'Rourke

Journal Articles

Although constitutional scholars frequently analyze the relationships between courts and legislatures, they rarely examine the relationship between courts and statutes. This Article is the first to systematically examine how the presence or absence of a statute can influence constitutional doctrine. It analyzes pairs of cases that raise similar constitutional questions, but differ with respect to whether the court is reviewing the constitutionality of legislation. These case pairs suggest that statutes place significant constraints on constitutional decisionmaking. Specifically, in cases that involve a challenge to a statute, courts are less inclined to use doctrine to regulate the behavior of nonjudicial officials. …


Reading Statutes In The Common Law Tradition, Jeffrey A. Pojanowski Jan 2015

Reading Statutes In The Common Law Tradition, Jeffrey A. Pojanowski

Journal Articles

There is wide agreement in American law and scholarship about the role the common law tradition plays in statutory interpretation. Jurists and scholars of various stripes concur that the common law points away from formalist interpretive approaches like textualism and toward a more creative, independent role for courts. They simply differ over whether the common law tradition is worth preserving. Dynamic and strongly purposive interpreters claim the Anglo-American common law heritage in support of their approach to statutory interpretation, while arguing that formalism is an unjustified break from that tradition. Formalists reply that the common law mindset and methods are …


Jurisdictional Standards (And Rules), Adam I. Muchmore Jan 2013

Jurisdictional Standards (And Rules), Adam I. Muchmore

Journal Articles

This Article uses the jurisprudential dichotomy between two opposing types of legal requirements — “rules” and “standards” — to examine extraterritorial regulation by the United States. It argues that there is natural push toward standards in extraterritorial regulation because numerous institutional actors either see standards as the best option in extraterritorial regulation or accept standards as a second-best option when their first choice (a rule favorable to their interests or their worldview) is not feasible.

The Article explores several reasons for this push toward standards, including: statutory text, statutory interpretation theories, the nonbinary nature of the domestic/foreign characterization, the tendency …


Administrative Change, Randy J. Kozel, Jeffrey Pojanowski Jan 2011

Administrative Change, Randy J. Kozel, Jeffrey Pojanowski

Journal Articles

Determining the standard of review for administrative actions has commanded judicial and scholarly interest like few other topics. Notwithstanding the extensive debates, far less consideration has been given to the unique features of agencies’ deviations from their own precedents. In this article we examine this puzzle of administrative change. By change, we mean a reversal of the agency’s former views about the best way to implement and interpret its regulatory mandate. We trace the lineage of administrative change at the Supreme Court and analyze features that distinguish agency reversals from other administrative actions. In particular, we contend that because administrative …


The Enforceability Of Exacted Conservation Easements, Jessica Owley Jan 2011

The Enforceability Of Exacted Conservation Easements, Jessica Owley

Journal Articles

The use of exacted conservation easements is widespread. Yet, the study of the implications of their use has been minimal. Conservation easements are nonpossessory interests in land restricting a landowner’s ability to use her land in an otherwise permissible way, with the goal of yielding a conservation benefit. Exacted conservation easements arise in permitting contexts where, in exchange for a government benefit, landowners either create conservation easements on their own property or arrange for conservation easements on other land.

To explore the concern associated with the enforceability of exacted conservation easements in a concrete way, this article examines exacted conservation …


Substantive Canons And Faithful Agency, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2010

Substantive Canons And Faithful Agency, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

Federal courts have long employed substantive canons of construction in the interpretation of statutes. For example, they apply the rule of lenity, which directs that ambiguous criminal statutes be interpreted in favor of the defendant, and the avoidance canon, which directs that statutes be interpreted in a manner that prevents the court from having to address serious constitutional questions. They also apply so-called “clear statement” rules — for example, absent a clear statement from Congress, a federal court will not interpret a statute to abrogate state sovereign immunity. While some commentators have attempted to rationalize these and other substantive canons …


Statutory Interpretation As A Parasitic Endeavor, Stephen F. Ross Jan 2007

Statutory Interpretation As A Parasitic Endeavor, Stephen F. Ross

Journal Articles

The principal theme of this essay is that statutory interpretation is a project that requires advocates and judges to utilize the insights of three discrete disciplines apart from law: communications and linguistics to understand the way that legislative drafters use words to communicate to others, either in text or in extratextual legislative material; political science to describe the way that legislators behave in enacting statutes; and political theory to provide a normative guide for courts interpreting statutes in a constitutional democracy.


Foreign Relations As A Matter Of Interpretation: The Use And Abuse Of Charming Betsy, Roger P. Alford Jan 2006

Foreign Relations As A Matter Of Interpretation: The Use And Abuse Of Charming Betsy, Roger P. Alford

Journal Articles

Charming Betsy is a canon of construction that construes legislative enactments consistent with the law of nations. This canon promotes the passive virtue of avoiding constitutional problems by eschewing potential international law violations through statutory interpretation, thereby enhancing the United States' performance in foreign affairs. As a rule of separation of powers, Charming Betsy helps explain how foreign relations concerns clarify the scope of legislative, executive, and judicial authority. But when advocates contend that the Constitution likewise should be read through the lens of Charming Betsy, they abuse the doctrine by ignoring its purpose. While structural guarantees that relate to …


State Courts And The Interpretation Of Federal Statutes, Anthony J. Bellia Jan 2006

State Courts And The Interpretation Of Federal Statutes, Anthony J. Bellia

Journal Articles

Scholars have long debated the separation of powers question of what judicial power federal courts have under Article III of the Constitution in the enterprise of interpreting federal statutes. Specifically, scholars have debated whether, in light of Founding-era English and state court judicial practice, the judicial power of the United States should be understood as a power to interpret statutes dynamically or as faithful agents of Congress. This Article argues that the question of how courts should interpret federal statutes is one not only of separation of powers but of federalism as well. State courts have a vital and often …


Proportionality And Federalization, Stephen F. Smith Jan 2005

Proportionality And Federalization, Stephen F. Smith

Journal Articles

The thesis of this Article is that proportionality of punishment has become a casualty of federalization and that the federal courts helped kill it. The federal courts like to portray themselves as the victims in the vicious cycle of federalization, left defenseless in the face of rapacious efforts by Congress and the Department of Justice to use the federal criminal code for their own selfish ends. The federal judiciary repeatedly complains that its judges are overburdened with criminal cases that belong in state court. This is the story the leading lights in the academy have accepted: Congress is responsible for …


Statutory Stare Decisis In The Courts Of Appeals, Amy Coney Barrett Jan 2005

Statutory Stare Decisis In The Courts Of Appeals, Amy Coney Barrett

Journal Articles

The Supreme Court has long given its cases interpreting statutes special protection from overruling. Two rationales exist for this practice. One line of thought interprets congressional silence following the Supreme Court's interpretation of a statute as approval of that interpretation. According to this way of thinking, a refusal to overrule statutory precedent is a refusal to veer from an interpretation that Congress has effectively approved. Another line of thought emphasizes that statutory interpretation inevitably involves policymaking, and that policymaking is an aspect of legislative, rather than judicial, power. According to this second way of thinking, the Supreme Court should refuse …


Statutory Interpretation In The Courtroom, The Classroom, And Canadian Legal Literature, Stephen F. Ross Jan 2000

Statutory Interpretation In The Courtroom, The Classroom, And Canadian Legal Literature, Stephen F. Ross

Journal Articles

In recent years, judges and scholars in Canada and the United States are devoting more attention to the theory and techniques involved in statutory interpretation. Although some advocate "foundational" theories to answer all theories of interpretation, most difficult cases require a pragmatic approach that requires analysis of the statutory text, original legislative intent, and legislative purpose in light of modern circumstances. Moreover, the most difficult cases may not be answerable by any of these approaches. In difficult cases, judges often resort to "normative canons" - rules they created to further a jurisprudence they desire. These canons need to be closely …


Felony Murder And Mens Rea Default Rules: A Study In Statutory Interpretation, Guyora Binder Jan 2000

Felony Murder And Mens Rea Default Rules: A Study In Statutory Interpretation, Guyora Binder

Journal Articles

The Model Penal Code's influential approach to culpability included default rules assigning a culpable mental state to every conduct, circumstance and result element of each offense. Such rules have been enacted in half of the American states. The Code's drafters also rejected what they understood to be the felony murder rule's imposition of "a form of strict liability for... homicide." Yet almost every state has retained some form of the felony murder rule and so repudiated the Model Penal Code's proposed reform. Because the Model Penal Code's disapproval of felony murder flows from its general disapproval of strict liability, the …


Direct Democracy And Hastily Enacted Statutes, John C. Nagle Jan 1996

Direct Democracy And Hastily Enacted Statutes, John C. Nagle

Journal Articles

Phil Frickey qualifies as the leading explorer of the borderline between statutory interpretation and constitutional law. Frickey explores ways to mediate the borderline between statutory interpretation and constitutional adjudication in the context of direct democracy. His is an enormously helpful attempt to reconcile the constitutional issues discussed by Julian Eule and the statutory interpretation issues discussed by Jane Schacter. I agree with many of Frickey's suggestions. Indeed, I will suggest some additional devices that can perform the same role. But I wonder whether Frickey has proved more than he set out to accomplish. The problems of direct democracy are special, …


The Limited Relevance Of Plain Meaning, Stephen F. Ross Jan 1995

The Limited Relevance Of Plain Meaning, Stephen F. Ross

Journal Articles

In this essay, the author takes the position that linguists' principal expertise - ascertaining how language is used by ordinary speakers of English - is often of little value in interpreting controversial non-criminal federal statutes. Although linguistic techniques might still aid in understanding their meaning, the author's thesis is that extrinsic evidence that is known and accessible to this small sub-community - such as legislative history, established norms of construction, and other evidence about the context in which the legislation arose - is more likely than linguistic analysis to help an outside judge shed light on what Congress meant and …


The Modern Parol Evidence Rule And Its Implications For New Textualist Statutory Interpretation, Stephen F. Ross, Daniel Trannen Jan 1995

The Modern Parol Evidence Rule And Its Implications For New Textualist Statutory Interpretation, Stephen F. Ross, Daniel Trannen

Journal Articles

Part I of this article focuses on the history of parol evidence in contract interpretation, describing both Williston's and Corbin's definition and application of the parol evidence rule. With the adoption of the UCC and the Second Restatement, we suggest that Corbin's position-that expansion of admissibility of parol evidence will more accurately reflect the drafters' manifest intentions and minimize the judge's personal biases-has been accepted by experts and legislators alike. In Part II, we summarize the use of legislative history in statutory interpretation, focusing on the rise of the New Textualism and its critique of the use of legislative history …


Reaganist Realism Comes To Detriot, Stephen F. Ross Jan 1989

Reaganist Realism Comes To Detriot, Stephen F. Ross

Journal Articles

Part I of this article discusses Detroit Newspapers and explains how in deferring to the Attorney General's interpretation of the Newspaper Preservation Act, Judge Silberman disregarded every applicable technique of statutory interpretation typically used to resolve the issue. Indeed, each of these techniques suggests that Attorney General Meese's interpretation of the Act was incorrect. This part of the article also demonstrates why deference to Meese was particularly inappropriate in light of the generally accepted justifications for judicial deference to administrative interpretations of statutes.

Part II explains that Detroit Newspapers is one of several opinions by conservative Reagan judicial appointees that …