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2001

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Jurisprudence

Nonformalist

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Communis Opinio And The Methods Of Statutory Interpretation: Interpreting Law Or Changing Law, Michael P. Healy Dec 2001

Communis Opinio And The Methods Of Statutory Interpretation: Interpreting Law Or Changing Law, Michael P. Healy

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Interpretive methodology lies at the core of the Supreme Court's persistent modern debate about statutory interpretation. Supreme Court Justices have applied two fundamentally different methods of interpretation. One is the formalist method, which seeks to promote rule-of-law values and purports to constrain the discretion of judges by limiting them to the autonomous legal text. The second is the nonformalist or antiformalist method, which may consider the legislature's intent or purpose or other evidence as context for understanding the statutory text. The debate within the current Court is commonly framed and advanced by Justices Stevens and Scalia. Justice Scalia ...