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Statutory interpretation

Legislation

Notre Dame Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Interpreting State Statutes In Federal Court, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl Nov 2022

Interpreting State Statutes In Federal Court, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

Notre Dame Law Review

This Article addresses a problem that potentially arises whenever a federal court encounters a state statute. When interpreting the state statute, should the federal court use the state’s methods of statutory interpretation—the state’s canons of construction, its rules about the use of legislative history, and the like—or should the court instead use federal methods of statutory interpretation? The question is interesting as a matter of theory, and it is practically significant because different jurisdictions have somewhat different interpretive approaches. In addressing itself to this problem, the Article makes two contributions. First, it shows, as a normative matter, that federal courts …


On Viewing The Courts As Junior Partners Of Congress In Statutory Interpretation Cases: An Essay Celebrating The Scholarship Of Daniel J. Meltzer, Richard H. Fallon Jr Oct 2016

On Viewing The Courts As Junior Partners Of Congress In Statutory Interpretation Cases: An Essay Celebrating The Scholarship Of Daniel J. Meltzer, Richard H. Fallon Jr

Notre Dame Law Review

In this Essay, written in tribute to Dan Meltzer, I shall attempt to explicate his views regarding statutory interpretation in general, thematic terms. In doing so, I shall register my agreement with virtually all of Dan’s conclusions and frequently echo his practically minded arguments in support of them. But I shall also advance arguments—with which I cannot be entirely sure he would have agreed—that seek to show that his position reflected theoretical insights about how language works, not only in law, but also more generally in life. By seeking simultaneously to defend Dan’s views and to build on them, this …


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 …