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Contrary to traditional theories of statutory interpretation, which ground statutes in the original legislative text or intent, legal scholar William Eskridge argues that statutory interpretation changes in response to new political alignments, new interpreters, and new ideologies. It does so, first of all, because it involves richer administrative texts than either common law or constitutional interpretation: statutes are often complex and have a detailed legislative history. Second, Congress can, and often does, rewrite statutes when it disagrees with their interpretations; and agencies and courts attend to current as well as historical congressional preferences when they interpret statutes. Third, since statutory interpretation is as much agency-centred as judge-centred and since agency executives see their creativity as more legitimate than judges see theirs, statutory interpretation in the modern regulatory state is particularly dynamic. Eskridge also considers how different normative theories of jurisprudence - liberal, legal process, and antiliberal - inform debates about statutory interpretation. He explores what theory of statutory interpretation - if any - is required by the rule of law or by democratic theory. Finally, he provides an analytical and jurisprudential history of important debates on statutory interpretation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674218789
ISBN-10: 0674218787
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 162mm x 29mm)
Pages: 424
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 21-Feb-1995
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - William N. Eskridge

William N. Eskridge, Jr. is Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

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