J.D. Course 304
| 4 credit hours
The United States has two separate, and very different, systems of law: judge-made law (includ¬ing both the common law and, effectively, much of constitutional law) and promulgated codes (including statutes, administrative rules, and rules of court). Virtually every course in law school, including this one, relies heavily on the case method and seeks to train you to work with judge-made law. On the other hand, although many courses require some effort to construe statutes or rules, rarely do you have occasion to step back and consider the process of how one goes about construing such materials. This course offers that opportunity.
Although its focus will be statutory interpretation, understanding the meaning of a statute is impossible without some understanding of the process that gave rise to that statute. It will take a broad look at the legislative process, from production (internal legis¬la¬tive de¬bates) to con¬sump¬tion (courts’ and lawyers’ efforts to interpret ambiguous, contradictory, or seemingly obsolete statutes). Among the most important and per¬sistent ques¬tions it will ex¬plore are:
*In construing a statute, does intent matter? If so, whose, and how is that intent to be ascertained? If not, what can we rely upon instead for guidance?
*How can the dual worlds of case law and statutes be harmonized? As our legal system comes to rely increasingly on statutes (and administrative rules), how must or should the common law system adapt? In what areas should judges lead, and in what areas should they defer to the legislature? On what principles should those decisions be made, and by whom?
This class will take a fairly theoretical perspective. It will, however, include brief weekly draft¬ing exercises and a role-playing exercise exploring the federal budget process.
Students may not receive credit for both this course and the first-year elective, Lawmaking: Introduction to Statutory and Regulatory Interpretation.
||Room / Days / From-To
|This course is not currently scheduled.