The Place of Legislative History, and Purpose v. Specific Meanings

Kent Greenawalt

in Statutory and Common Law Interpretation

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756148
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979523 | DOI:
The Place of Legislative History, and Purpose v. Specific Meanings

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This chapter first discusses the status of legislative history, a critical component of how courts should discern a statute's original meaning. Used without serious controversy during most of the twentieth century, the relevance of legislative history has become seriously contested. It then considers the use of legislative history to disclose what members of the legislature, or trusted staff, actually understood (or would have understood) statutory language to cover in particular circumstances. This is followed by discussions of alternative theories about the use of legislative history and the import of specific provisions versus purposes.

Keywords: courts; statutes; legislature; legislative history

Chapter.  12638 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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