Advanced Topics in Statutory Interpretation
This course addresses the variety of approaches courts and others have applied in interpreting statutory language. We will discuss the conceptual foundations of and the controversies around the dominant approaches of textualism and intentionalism. We will also consider other approaches, including dynamic and economic approaches to interpretation, and we will treat the debates over canons of construction, legislative history, and dictionaries. We will explore both theoretically-focused legal scholarship and particular cases and statutory issues. Each student will be required to write two short reaction papers over the course of the semester (each five pages or less) and, by the end of the semester, one longer paper of roughly twenty pages. The short papers will be circulated to other seminar members in advance of the relevant week's discussion.
Prerequisites: None, though previous completion of Legislation and Regulation, or another statutory or regulatory course such as Administrative Law, Tax Law, Employment Law, Telecommunications Regulation, or Environmental Law, is highly recommended.
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