Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dueling wisdom

He who hesitates is lost.


Look before you leap.


JimII said...

I was trying to find the law journal article on this, but I guess it my be a book. There was a professor who went through the various canons of construction for statutes, and found for each one there was a conflicting alternative.

Josh said...

That sounds really interesting, but are "anons of construction for statutes?"

Josh said...

Wow. That was supposed to be, "...but what are canons of construction for statutes?"

JimII said...

Found some in wikipedia. I'll try to reconstruct the "dueling canons."

Ejusdem generis means that where general words follow an enumeration of specific items, the general words are read as applying to other items akin to those specifically enumerated.
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius means items not on the list are assumed not to be covered by the statute.

Consider the following made up statute: No member of the executive branch may through termination, reduction in force, lay off, or compelled leave of absence cause another member of the excutive branch to discontinue his employment without the express authorization of the President.

Can the Vice President order a member of the executive to submit his resignation without the President's authorization? Under the first canon no. Under the second canon yes.

I think Professor Llewellyn's Dueling Canons article (or maybe a book) is pointing out that there is not a value neutral way to do statutory interpretation.

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