Tag: Statutory Interpretation


Tatiana E. Sainati

The annihilation of more than 1.5 million Cambodians at the hands of the Khmer Rouge is widely considered a quintessential case of genocide. Whether these atrocities meet the definition of genocide as a legal matter, however, remains unsettled. As of October 2012, the question of whether genocide occurred in Cambodia… Read More »

Hierarchy and Heterogeneity: How to Read a Statute in a Lower Court

Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl - University of Houston Law Center

Is statutory interpretation an activity that all courts should, in principle, perform the same way?  Or should methods of statutory interpretation systematically vary depending on which court is doing the interpreting?
Courts and commentators overwhelmingly assume that interpretive methods should be essentially homogeneous across courts.  Moreover, they treat the United… Read More »

Codified Canons and the Common Law of Interpretation

Jacob Scott

Statutory construction generally involves rules of thumb that are said to allow readers to draw inferences about the meaning of a particular statute.  These “canons of construction” (also known as maxims of interpretation) guide the methods and sources used in statutory interpretation and are usually deployed according to an interpreter’s… Read More »

The Democracy Canon

Richard L. Hasen - Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

In the heat of the 2008 election season—following the new tradition of the 2000 and 2004 elections—candidates, political parties, and others filed new lawsuits practically every day over election law issues. In mid-September 2008, two Ohio controversies garnered national attention. In one case, Republicans filed suit to block first-time Ohio… Read More »

Chevron’s Mistake

Lisa Schultz Bressman - Vanderbilt Law School

In 1984, the Supreme Court issued an opinion that set forth a framework for addressing the problem of ambiguity in statutes that delegate authority to administrative agencies. That opinion, Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, is the most famous case in administrative law. The Court stated that a reviewing court… Read More »

Ending the Endogeneity of Earmark Rules

Rebecca Kysar - Brooklyn Law School

For centuries, livestock owners have marked their animals by clipping their ears.  Paradoxically, the term we give to special interest provisions—”earmarks”—conflicts with its origins in this agrarian practice.  Far from revealing ownership, earmarks actually conceal their supporters and beneficiaries.  Undetected, these provisions are less costly because they face less opposition… Read More »

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