Chapter

What Else Counts, and Should Count, for 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756148.003.0005
What Else Counts, and Should Count, for Statutory Interpretation?

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This chapter considers a number of discrete issues about statutory interpretation, including the significance of presidential signing statements, the expressed views of subsequent Congresses, various canons of interpretation, and the role of precedents. It suggests that no straightforward novel approach will resolve most of the basic dilemmas about statutory interpretation. There remains no substitute for careful conceptual analysis that examines the basic values of a legal system within a certain set of political structures. The examination of text, intent, canons, precedent, coherence with other laws, subsequent legislative action, and other variables has shown how powerful is the position that multiple considerations are relevant for statutory interpretation, and that no neat categorization of these can consistently produce simple answers when the force of statutory language is not evident.

Keywords: presidential signing statements; Congress; precedents; legal system; political structures; statutory language

Chapter.  17586 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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