Statutory Interpretation

Statutory interpretation is critical to legal analysis and argument. Contemporary law is largely derived from statutory authorities, and lawyers will confront questions of statutory interpretation in almost any area of practice. Statutory interpretation is also a continual source of vibrant intellectual engagement, as scholars, Supreme Court justices, and advocates debate the methods and aims of finding statutory meaning. This course will stress both the practical and theoretical dimensions of interpretation. Students will learn and apply the methods of interpreting statutes. We will also spend considerable time on different interpretive approaches, such as competing commitments to textualist, purposive, or dynamic interpretation; the use of legislative history and canons of construction; the institutional roles of courts and legislatures, and the democratic and constitutional foundations of statutory interpretation itself. Assessment will be based on a series of short papers. (Course cannot be used for the Advanced Writing Requirement.)

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course