Skip to content

Fall 2021 Seminar

Advanced Legislation: Statutory Interpretation

Prerequisite: Legislation & Regulation is a prerequisite for JD students. LLM or SJD students should have had a similar class or work experience in their prior legal education or work as a lawyer, before permission can be granted to take the course.

Exam Type: No Exam

With the presence and passing of Justice Scalia from the U.S. Supreme Court, and the appointment of three Justices thereafter, statutory interpretation has come to occupy – alongside constitutional law – the locus of arguments around theories of how to interpret law. Moreover, most modern law is contained in statutes and administrative regulations, which lawyers tend to confront alongside case law in almost every area of practice. Building on basic concepts of Legislation and Regulation, this course aims to further explore theories of the legislative process, judicial interpretation of statutes, and agency implementation of legislation. We will explore ongoing controversies about legislation, regulation, and interpretation, including deep debates about textualism, ordinary meaning, and purposive or dynamic interpretation; about the use of legislative history and the increasingly popular canons of construction; and about the constitutional foundations of statutory interpretation. Although there is no single subject matter focus of the course, a significant portion of the substantive areas of law we traverse will cover criminal law and anti-discrimination law.

This course entails components of short essays, opinion-writing, and mock arguments. It is particularly well suited for those interested in legal academia, clerkships, and written feedback on writing. There is no exam for this course. It includes a option for students to write a paper that will fulfill the Option 1 writing requirement.