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The Theory and Practice of Statutory Interpretation

by Frank B. Cross

While issues of constitutional interpretation are often occasions of great public controversy, Cross (law, U. of Texas) argues that the interpretation of statutes is of far greater practical consequence. It this volume he reviews the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence relevant to the efforts by legal scholars to construct a systematic structure for statutory interpretation. He first presents the "delegation construct," wherein judicial authority to interpret statutes must be considered as derived from Congressional intent, even as frequent ambiguity with regard to Congressional intent is admitted. He then analyzes the leading methods and theories of statutory interpretation--textualism, legislative intent, interpretive canons, and pragmatism--particularly assessing them against the problem of willful and outcome-oriented judging. Next, he examines the practices of the Supreme Court in some 100 cases decided during the Rehnquist Court, finding pluralism in the interpretive approaches applied to cases and assessing the impact of ideological bias. Finally, he assesses the practices of lower courts, finding that textualism and pragmatism has boomed. He also finds that textualism tended to lead to negative citations that distinguished or declined to apply Supreme Court holdings, thus casting some doubt on the clarity and value of textualist interpretive methods. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)

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