Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Much of the theoretical work done at the intersection of law and politics demands empirical underpinnings. Scholarship working to discern the signals sent by legislators in order to interpret unclear language consistently with the message that was sent by the enactors requires a sophisticated understanding of the legislative process—both generally and specifically as it pertains to that legislation. The study of statutory interpretation moved to the forefront of scholarly attention in the 1980s in large part because legal scholars began to use insights and methodologies from political science—most fruitfully, from public choice and other positive theories of politics. This article examines the interaction of positive theories of politics with the foundational theories of statutory interpretation, namely, intentionalism and purposivism. It discusses how political science has been used to challenge these theories and how it has sometimes provided a more nuanced and convincing version of interpretive techniques. The article also considers courts as interpreters and the institutional relationship between Congress and the judiciary.

Keywords: Congress, judiciary, legislation, law, politics, political science, statutory interpretation, intentionalism, purposivism, courts

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.