Course Details

Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation

Analyzing text is a deeply important part of legal practice in public law, whether statutory or constitutional law. It cuts across a wide variety of subject matter areas, from very basic aspects of the Constitution to any statutory topic imaginable. Whatever the subject matter, whether health care law, presidential emoluments, or internet privacy, certain problems of legal analysis recur. How should courts analyze legal texts? Where should judges go to look for meaning when the text is vague or ambiguous? Should texts be updated to reflect current norms? What does it mean to look for the drafter’s intent? Should approaches toward statutory and constitutional text be symmetrical or not? This seminar will introduce students to these problems and provide essential skills for reading both constitutional and statutory text. Materials will be provided by the instructor and will include insights gained from linguistics, political science, philosophy, and behavioral economics. Students will choose an appellate or Supreme Court case/cases to work through these questions and as the basis for a final paper. This seminar satisfies the Research Writing requirement.

Catalog Number: CONPUB 750
Additional Course Information: Research Writing


Course History

Fall 2017
Title: Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation
Faculty: Nourse, Victoria (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 16     Actual: 15