The Basic Core of Statutory Interpretation

Kent Greenawalt

in Statutory and Common Law Interpretation

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756148
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979523 | DOI:
The Basic Core of Statutory Interpretation

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This chapter explores the following question: How should textual significance and legislative intent figure in the interpretation of statutes? It begins by considering the basic dispute between those who would rely on text to the (apparent) exclusion of subjective legislators' intent and those who would credit discoverable, expressed intent as intrinsically relevant. It first looks closely at textualist claims and then turns to the viability of theories that credit intentions. Among the discrete issues explored are the comparative importance of text and intent; how one should understand textual meaning if the intent of legislators is disregarded or is unhelpful; whether reader understanding and legislative intent should be conceived in subjective or objective terms; what an objective approach to reader understanding or intent entails; whose and what states of mind matter and what combinations of them are significant; and whether any plausible theory can avoid assessments of actual and hypothetical states of mind of real persons.

Keywords: textual significance; legislative intent; statutes; credit intentions

Chapter.  16093 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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