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Jurisprudence

2011

Courts

Maurer School of Law: Indiana University

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Procedure's Ambiguity, Mark Moller Apr 2011

Procedure's Ambiguity, Mark Moller

Indiana Law Journal

By leaving the meaning of a statute—or procedural rule—undecided, ambiguous appellate decisions create space for lower courts to adopt a blend of conflicting approaches, yielding an average result that trims between competing preferences. While compromising in this way may seem to flout basic norms of good judging, this Article shows that opaque “compromise” opinions have plausible normative appeal, given premises about good interpretation often labeled “pluralist.” Judicial pluralists think courts should decide cases in ways interest groups would, hypothetically, accept. To demonstrate the pluralist appeal of opaque decisions, I develop, in turn, two related claims: First, interest groups, under the …