Statutory law is the dominant source of contemporary law, and it is the form of law that lawyers are likely to confront most often in almost any area of practice. It is also an area of vibrant intellectual debate, as scholars, Supreme Court justices, and others debate the methods and aims of statutory interpretation. This course will stress both the practical and theoretical dimensions of interpretation. Students will learn and apply the methods of statutory interpretation. We will also spend considerable time on contemporary controversies, such as debates about textualist, purposive and dynamic interpretation; about the use of legislative history and canons of construction; about the special interpretive problems that arise in the context of direct democracy; and about the democratic and constitutional foundations of statutory interpretation itself. Readings will draw from political science as well as law. Elements used in grading: Class participation and final exam.
Instructors for this course (Past and Present)Jane S. Schacter