Does Deference Promote Principled Interpretations of Statutes?
Author: Humphery-Jenner, Mark
Source: Legisprudence, Volume 6, Number 1, June 2012 , pp. 98-130(33)
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Abstract:Statutes permeate society. Administrators administer and interpret statutes. Litigants can challenge administrators' actions. In deciding the challenge, courts must interpret the statute. In doing so, courts must decide how much weight to give the administrator's interpretation. Doctrines of deference govern the amount of weight that courts should assign to agencies' interpretations. I use a sample of 1014 United States Supreme Court judgments to show that a low-to-medium level of deference is most likely to promote desirable interpretations that uphold the legislature's purpose for a statute and allow the words of the statute to reflect contemporary society.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2012
- Legisprudence aims at contributing to the improvement of legislation by studying the processes of legislation from the perspective of legal theory. The content of the journal covers legislation in a broad sense. This comprises legislation in both the formal and the material sense (from national and European parliaments, regulation, international law), and alternatives to legislation (covenants, sunset legislation, etc.). It also takes in regulation (pseudo-legislation, codes of behaviour and deontological codes, etc.). The journal is theoretical and reflective. Contributions to the journal make use of an interdisciplinary method in legal theory. Comparative and system transcending approaches are encouraged. Sociological, historical, or economic studies are taken into account to the extent that they are relevant from the perspective of interdisciplinary legal theory. Dogmatic descriptions of positive law are not taken into consideration.
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