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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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Judging Statutes


ISBN13: 9780190263294
Published: April 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 2014)
Price: £11.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780199362134



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Over the last twenty-five years, there has been a spirited debate in the courts, Congress, and in the academy about how to interpret federal statutes, the laws of Congress. Federal judges spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand Congress's meaning.

Just as Congress produces laws, so courts are called on to interpret them. When the language of the statute is unambiguous, then, the job of the judge is generally straightforward. But when-as often happens-the statute is ambiguous, the interpretative task is not obvious.

How a judge interprets statutes - sticking only to the text when the language is ambiguous, or going beyond the text to legislative materials - is of fundamental importance. For the methodology of interpretation can affect the outcome and thus whether the law has been construed consistently with Congress's meaning. Justice Scalia has fueled the debate, arguing that courts should look to the text of the statute and to virtually nothing else.

In Judging Statutes Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, respectfully disagrees. Drawing upon his interdisciplinary background in law and political science, he argues that our constitutional system charges Congress with enacting laws; so, how Congress makes its purposes known, through text and reliable accompanying materials should be respected.

Judge Katzmann contends that there has been scant consideration given to what is critical as courts interpret statutes - an appreciation of how Congress actually functions and signals its meaning, and what Congress expects of those interpreting its laws.

Judging Statutes explores how Congress works; how agencies construe legislation; and examines two interpretative approaches, purposivsm and textualism. The author discusses cases in which he was the writing judge and which the Supreme Court reviewed, and concludes with some suggestions to promote understanding between courts and Congress.

Subjects:
Other Jurisdictions , USA, Statutory Interpretation and Legislative Drafting
Contents:
Preface
CHAPTER ONE
Introduction
CHAPTER TWO
Congress and the Lawmaking Process
CHAPTER THREE
Congress and Agencies: Interpreting and Implementing Statutes
CHAPTER FOUR
Judicial Interpretation of Statutes
CHAPTER FIVE
Some Cases I Have Decided
CHAPTER SIX
Promoting Understanding
CHAPTER SEVEN
Conclusion
APPENDIX A
Selected Commentary Over the Law Three Decades by Federal Judges on Statutory Construction
APPENDIX B
Selected Commentary Since 1997 Addressing Statutory Interpretation
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS