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B554 Legislation

Description Most law today is found in statutes and it is therefore important to understand how courts deal with statutory law. The major emphasis in this course is statutory interpretation. Part I deals with the history of statutory interpretation, from the early period when judge-made law dominated to the current period, when statutes dominate. Part II discusses both the theory and technique of statutory interpretation. Part II-A focuses on text, external context, and change. We want to know what the modern textualists are trying to tell us and whether their efforts at controlling judicial discretion are successful. Textualism is contrasted with purposivism (the dominant approach during much of the 20th Century). We also consider canons of construction, which is the technique by which judges bring substantive values to interpretation. An important question is how modern textualists with these canons. Part II-B deals with legislative history and the shift from judicial enthusiasm for considering such history in the mid-20th Century to current suspicion about its use. Part II-C discusses how statutes interact with the common law and with each other to create law. Now that most law is statutory, working out the interaction of statutes has become more important than the older problem of working out the relationship of statutes to traditional common law. On a broader note, the course takes two approaches # the practical side of helping lawyers tell judges how to interpret legislation and the jurisprudential perspective of worrying about what approach is best in our constitutional democracy.

Note This course may offer writing credit.

Faculty D. Widiss, Popkin

SemesterTitleFaculty
Spring 2014 - 2015LegislationWidiss, D.
Fall 2014 - 2015LegislationPopkin
Spring 2013 - 2014LegislationWidiss, D.
Fall 2013 - 2014LegislationPopkin
Fall 2012 - 2013LegislationPopkin
Spring 2011 - 2012LegislationWidiss, D.
Fall 2011 - 2012LegislationPopkin
Spring 2010 - 2011LegislationWidiss, D.
Fall 2010 - 2011LegislationPopkin
Fall 2009 - 2010LegislationPopkin