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2019

Statutory interpretation

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Audiences Of Statutes, David S. Louk Dec 2019

The Audiences Of Statutes, David S. Louk

Cornell Law Review

Although a maxim of statutory drafting is to identify the relevant audience and draft so that the audience can "get the message," conventional theories of statutory interpretation often overlook important considerations about how statutes communicate and delegate to a diverse range of intended audiences. Statutes exist to change the conduct and behavior of many kinds of intended audiences, including administrative agencies, state and local governments, law enforcement officers, corporations, interest groups, lawyers, and laypeople. Influenced by lessons from the philosophies of law and language, this Article contends that Judicial statutory interpretation serves an important yet underappreciated role in providing a …


Pepperdine University School Of Law Legal Summaries, Analise Nuxoll Nov 2019

Pepperdine University School Of Law Legal Summaries, Analise Nuxoll

Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary

No abstract provided.


Statutory Realism: The Jurisprudential Ambivalence Of Interpretive Theory, Abigail R. Moncrieff Oct 2019

Statutory Realism: The Jurisprudential Ambivalence Of Interpretive Theory, Abigail R. Moncrieff

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

In the renaissance of statutory interpretation theory, a division has emerged between "new purposivists," who argue that statutes should be interpreted dynamically, and "new textualists," who argue that statutes should be interpreted according to their ordinary semantic meanings. Both camps, however, rest their theories on jurisprudentially ambivalent commitments. Purposivists are jurisprudential realists when they make arguments about statutory meaning, but they are jurisprudential formalists in their views of the judicial power to engage in dynamic interpretation. Textualists are the inverse; they are formalistic in their understandings of statutory meaning but realistic in their arguments about judicial power. The relative triumph …


The Statutory Interpretation Muddle, Richard H. Fallon, Jr. Oct 2019

The Statutory Interpretation Muddle, Richard H. Fallon, Jr.

Northwestern University Law Review

Debates about statutory interpretation typically proceed on the assumption that statutes have linguistic meanings that we can identify in the same way that we identify the meaning of utterances in ordinary conversation. But that premise is false. We identify the meaning of conversational utterances largely based on inferences about what the speaker intended to communicate. With legislatures, as now is widely recognized, there is no unitary speaker with the sort of communicative intentions that speakers in ordinary conversation possess. One might expect this recognition to trigger abandonment of the model of conversational interpretation as a framework for interpreting statutes. Instead, …


Fun With Reverse Ejusdem Generis, Jay D. Wexler Oct 2019

Fun With Reverse Ejusdem Generis, Jay D. Wexler

Faculty Scholarship

In the canon of statutory construction canons, perhaps no canon is more canonical than the canon known as ejusdem generis. This canon, which translates as “of the same kind,” states that when a statute includes a list of terms and a catch-all phrase, the set of items covered by the catch-all phrase is limited to the same kind or type of items that are in the list. The canon of ejusdem generis has a long and storied history in the law, has been used by judges in countless cases, and has been the subject of a large body of scholarly …


In The Shadow Of The Legislature: The Common Law In The Age Of The New Public Law, Daniel A. Farber, Philip P. Frickey Aug 2019

In The Shadow Of The Legislature: The Common Law In The Age Of The New Public Law, Daniel A. Farber, Philip P. Frickey

Daniel A Farber

In this essay, we explore how modem common law judges should view their role vis-a-vis the legislature. We suggest that the perspective of the "New Public Law," as we conceptualize it, is surprisingly helpful in considering this problem.

In Part I, we briefly summarize two important aspects of the New Public Law: republicanism and public choice. We then address an obvious objection to our project - that our topic relates to private law, and is therefore outside the purview of the New Public Law. Part II turns to important questions about the relationship between statutes and the common law: When …


Feminist Statutory Interpretation, Kim Brooks Jul 2019

Feminist Statutory Interpretation, Kim Brooks

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

Leading Canadian scholar Ruth Sullivan describes the act of statutory interpretation as a mix of art and archaeology. The collection, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions, affirms her assessment. If the act of statutory interpretation requires us to deploy our interdisciplinary talents, at least somewhat unmoored from the constraints of formal expressions of legal doctrine, why haven’t feminists been more inclined to write about statutory interpretation? Put another way, some scholars acknowledge that judges “are subtly influenced by preconceptions, endemic privilegings and power hierarchies, and prevailing social norms and ‘conventional’ wisdom.” Those influences become the background for how judges read legislation. …


Digital Realty, Legislative History, And Textualism After Scalia, Michael Francus Jun 2019

Digital Realty, Legislative History, And Textualism After Scalia, Michael Francus

Pepperdine Law Review

There is a shift afoot in textualism. The New Textualism of Justice Scalia is evolving in response to a new wave of criticism. That criticism presses on the tension between Justice Scalia’s commitment to faithful agency (effecting the legislature’s will) and his rejection of legislative history in the name of ordinary meaning (which ignores legislative will). And it has caused some textualists to shift away from faithful agency, even to the point of abandoning it as textualism’s grounding principle. But this shift has gone unnoticed. It has yet to be identified or described, let alone defended, even as academic and …


If It Looks Like A Duck ... : Private International Arbitral Bodies Are Adjudicatory Tribunals Under 28 U.S.C. § 1782(A), Brandon Hasbrouck May 2019

If It Looks Like A Duck ... : Private International Arbitral Bodies Are Adjudicatory Tribunals Under 28 U.S.C. § 1782(A), Brandon Hasbrouck

Brandon Hasbrouck

No abstract provided.


Examining The Administrative Unworkability Of Final Agency Action Doctrine As Applied To The Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act, Adam Gerken May 2019

Examining The Administrative Unworkability Of Final Agency Action Doctrine As Applied To The Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act, Adam Gerken

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The application of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (“NAGPRA”) creates unique practical and doctrinal results. When considering the application of the current law concerning judicial review of final agency action under the APA to NAGPRA, it is evident that the law is simultaneously arbitrary and unclear. In the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Navajo Nation v. U.S. Department of the Interior, the Court applied final agency action doctrine in a manner that was legally correct but administratively unworkable. The Court’s opinion contravenes both the reasoning behind the APA final agency action …


Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee May 2019

Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

If an agency newly declares that it lacks statutory power previously claimed, how should such a move—what this article calls agency statutory abnegation—be reviewed? Given the array of strategies an agency might use to make a policy change or move the law in a deregulatory direction, why might statutory abnegation be chosen? After all, it is always a perilous and likely doctrinally disadvantageous strategy for agencies. Nonetheless, agencies from time to time have utilized statutory abnegation claims as part of their justification for deregulatory shifts. Actions by agencies during 2017 and 2018, under the administration of President Donald J. Trump, …


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 …


Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld May 2019

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld

Articles

Federalism is a system of government that calls for the division of power between a central authority and member states. It is designed to secure benefits that flow from centralization and from devolution, as well as benefits that accrue from a simultaneous commitment to both. A student of modern American federalism, however, might have a very different impression, for significant swaths of the case law and scholarly commentary on the subject neglect the centralizing, nationalist side of the federal balance. This claim may come as a surprise, since it is obviously the case that our national government has become immensely …


More Than Birds: Developing A New Environmental Jurisprudence Through The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Patrick G. Maroun Jan 2019

More Than Birds: Developing A New Environmental Jurisprudence Through The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Patrick G. Maroun

Michigan Law Review

This year marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, one of the oldest environmental regulatory statutes in the United States. It is illegal to “take” or “kill” any migratory bird covered by the Act. But many of the economic and industrial assumptions that undergirded the Act in 1918 have changed dramatically. Although it is undisputed that hunting protected birds is prohibited, circuit courts split on whether so-called “incidental takings” fall within the scope of the Act. The uncertainty inherent in this disagreement harms public and private interests alike—not to mention migratory birds. Many of the most important environmental …


Atomizing The Clean Water Act: Ignoring The Whole Statute And Asking The Wrong Questions, Robert W. Adler, Brian House Jan 2019

Atomizing The Clean Water Act: Ignoring The Whole Statute And Asking The Wrong Questions, Robert W. Adler, Brian House

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

When attempting to resolve difficult issues of statutory construction involving complex statutes, courts sometimes focus on individual words and phrases without evaluating how they fit within the text and structure of the whole statute. We call this “atomization” of the statutory text. Judges have fallen into this trap in construing the Clean Water Act (CWA) and other lengthy, complex federal environmental statutes. That tendency contributes to ongoing confusion about the scope and coverage of the CWA. During the 2019-2020 Term, the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve a circuit split in the most recent line of cases exhibiting this tendency. Courts …


Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin Jan 2019

Mens Rea Reform And Its Discontents, Benjamin Levin

Publications

This Article examines the debates over recent proposals for “mens rea reform.” The substantive criminal law has expanded dramatically, and legislators have criminalized a great deal of common conduct. Often, new criminal laws do not require that defendants know they are acting unlawfully. Mens rea reform proposals seek to address the problems of overcriminalization and unintentional offending by increasing the burden on prosecutors to prove a defendant’s culpable mental state. These proposals have been a staple of conservative-backed bills on criminal justice reform. Many on the left remain skeptical of mens rea reform and view it as a deregulatory vehicle …


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 …


Private Law Statutory Interpretation, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2019

Private Law Statutory Interpretation, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

All Faculty Scholarship

This Essay is an attempt to describe the basis and consequences of the disconnect between private law and legislation, both for private law theorizing and legal thinking more generally. It does so by focusing on “private law statutes,” legislation that creates or modifies rights and obligations between parties in their private capacities. Private law statutes do more than merely create private causes of action. While they create private causes, they do so on the basis of principles that are specific to the horizontal interaction between parties, rather than entirely for public-regarding policy reasons. While statutes in the areas traditionally identified …


Justice Gorsuch's Views On Precedent In The Context Of Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin Jan 2019

Justice Gorsuch's Views On Precedent In The Context Of Statutory Interpretation, Hillel Y. Levin

Scholarly Works

The doctrine of precedent, in its stare decisis form, presents a challenge to any originalist. This doctrine provides that a court should (at least sometimes) be bound by its own precedent, even if that precedent was wrongly decided in the first place. Yet if the original meaning of the text at issue is a judge’s focus, why should an intervening decision of the court—and a mistaken one at that— matter at all? Despite this tension, every originalist also at least purports to care about precedent.

This Essay focuses on Justice Gorsuch’s apparent views on precedent in the context of statutory …


The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack Jan 2019

The Enacted Purposes Canon, Kevin M. Stack

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article argues that the principle relied upon in King v. Burwell that courts "cannot interpret statutes to negate their stated purposes"-the enacted purposes canon-is and should be viewed as a bedrock element of statutory interpretation. The Supreme Court has relied upon this principle for decades, but it has done so in ways that do not call attention to this interpretive choice. As a result, the scope and patterns of the Court's reliance are easy to miss. After reconstructing the Court's practice, this Article defends this principle of interpretation on analytic, normative, and pragmatic grounds. Building on jurisprudence showing that …


Shots Fired: Digging The Uniformed Services Employment And Reemployment Rights Act Out Of The Trenches Of Arbitration, Lisa Limb Jan 2019

Shots Fired: Digging The Uniformed Services Employment And Reemployment Rights Act Out Of The Trenches Of Arbitration, Lisa Limb

Michigan Law Review

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was enacted to protect servicemembers from discrimination by civilian employers and to provide servicemembers with reemployment rights. Recent circuit court decisions, however, have maimed these protections by ruling that mandatory arbitration is permissible under USERRA. This Note argues that such rulings conflict with USERRA’s plain language, statutory structure, and purpose. Ultimately, in light of strong public policy considerations, this Note contends that mandatory arbitration should not be permissible under USERRA and proposes that Congress amend the Act to explicitly prohibit arbitration.


What Is "New"?: Defining "New Judgement" After Magwood, Patrick Cothern Jan 2019

What Is "New"?: Defining "New Judgement" After Magwood, Patrick Cothern

Michigan Law Review

Habeas corpus petitioners must navigate the procedural barriers of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) before courts consider their petitions on the merits. Among the barriers imposed is a general prohibition on “second or successive” habeas petitions, meaning a petitioner who previously filed a habeas petition may not bring another, with limited exceptions. One such exception, recognized by the Supreme Court in Magwood v. Patterson, allows for a second habeas petition after the petitioner obtains a “new judgment.” Magwood and AEDPA, however, left the term “new judgment” undefined. This Note summarizes the history of habeas corpus in the …