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Statutory Default Rules

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Statutory Default Rules

How to Interpret Unclear Legislation

Format

Hardback

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Statutory Default Rules by Einer Elhauge
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Description

Most new law is statutory law; that is, law enacted by legislators. An important question, therefore, is how should this law be interpreted by courts and agencies, especially when the text of a statute is not entirely clear. There is a great deal of scholarly literature on the rules and legal materials courts should use in interpreting statutes. This book takes a fresh approach by focusing instead on what judges should do once the legal materials fail to resolve the interpretive question. It challenges the common assumption that in such cases judges should exercise interstitial lawmaking power. Instead, it argues that--wherever one believes the interpretive inquiry has failed to resolve the statutory meaning--judges can and should use statutory default rules that are designed to maximize the satisfaction of enactable political preferences; that is, the political preferences of the polity that are shared among enough elected officials that they could and would be enacted into law if the issue were on the legislative agenda. These default rules explain many recent high-profile cases, including the Guantanamo detainees case, the sentencing guidelines case, the decision denying the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes, and the case that refused to allow the attorney general to criminalize drugs used in physician-assisted suicide.

Author Biography

Einer Elhauge is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
Release date Australia
February 28th, 2008
Author
Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations
3 line illustrations
Imprint
Harvard University Press
Pages
400
Dimensions
155x235x28
ISBN-13
9780674024601
Product ID
2463647

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