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Statutory interpretation

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Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld May 2019

Neglecting Nationalism, Gil Seinfeld

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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 …


Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane Mar 2014

Enacted Legislative Findings And The Deference Problem, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

The constitutionality of federal legislation sometimes turns on the presence and sufficiency of congressional findings of predicate facts, such as the effects of conduct on interstate commerce, state discrimination justifying the abrogation of sovereign immunity, or market failures justifying intrusions on free speech. Sometimes a congressional committee makes these findings in legislative history. Other times, Congress recites its findings in a statutory preamble, thus enacting its findings as law. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court has not distinguished between enacted and unenacted findings in deciding how much deference to accord congressional findings. This is striking because the difference between enactedness and unenactedness …


The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley Mar 2014

The Puzzling Presumption Of Reviewability, Nicholas Bagley

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The presumption in favor of judicial review of agency action is a cornerstone of administrative law, accepted by courts and commentators alike as both legally appropriate and obviously desirable. Yet the presumption is puzzling. As with any canon of statutory construction that serves a substantive end, it should find a source in history, positive law, the Constitution, or sound policy considerations. None of these, however, offers a plausible justification for the presumption. As for history, the sort of judicial review that the presumption favors - appellate-style arbitrariness review - was not only unheard of prior to the twentieth century, but …


Which Is To Be Master, The Judiciary Or The Legislature? When Statutory Directives Violate Separation Of Powers, Linda Jellum Jan 2009

Which Is To Be Master, The Judiciary Or The Legislature? When Statutory Directives Violate Separation Of Powers, Linda Jellum

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Statutory interpretation is at the cutting edge of legal scholarship and, now, legislative activity. As legislatures have increasingly begun to perceive judges as activist meddlers, some legislatures have found a creative solution to the perceived control problem: statutory directives. Statutory directives, simply put, tell judges how to interpret statutes. Rather than wait for an interpretation with which they disagree, legislatures use statutory directives to control judicial interpretation. Legislatures are constitutionally empowered to draft statutes. In doing so, legislatures expect to control the meaning of the words they choose. Moreover, they prefer to do so early in the process, not after …