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Lee Epstein
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Lee Epsteing Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor
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JUDGING STATUTES: INTERPRETIVE REGIMES
Published in 2005. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 38 (5): 1909-1970.

Nancy Staudt
Lee Epstein
Peter Wiedenbeck
René Lindstädt
Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Abstract (from the editors of the symposium)

Scholars, judges, and commentators have long puzzled over the best method to locate the meaning of a statute. The importance of this project has prompted countless theorists to devise competing modes of interpretation that rely on various forms of evidence, including statutory text, legislative intent, and agency interpretation. In this Article, co-authors Nancy Staudt, Lee Epstein, Peter Wiedenbeck, Rene Lindstadt, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen do not defend an existing interpretive regime nor do they seek to develop a new approach; rather they provide a descriptive mapping of the Supreme Court's approach for under-standing statutes in the business context over the course of the last century. The authors find that the justices privileged their own under-standing of statutory meaning in the early eras, but more recently have deferred to congressional views of the executive branch in the interpretive process. The authors also compare their findings to the Court's approach to reaching decisions in the civil rights context and find several areas of divergence. This descriptive project highlights a range of empirical questions that have yet to be answered and thus suggests new avenues for research.

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