Plain Meaning Rule – courts say that the statute possesses a plain meaning rule and that interpretation is unnecessary STAT COMMON Processes and Form: Introduce bill, refer bill to appropriate committee, approval of bill, sign of bill by executive branch Processes and Form: Rules are creatures of the judicial branch and adopted by the courts for settling controversies involving points of law on which the legislature has not spoke Social and Political Forces: have a greater and more evident impact on statues Social and Political Forces: Legislative Scope: legislative power to act is very broad. They are free to enact statutes when case law is nonexistent and can pass statutes that expressly overrule common-law principles. Ex; legality of married women’s contracts (statutes Legislative scope: courts only have to power to “make law” in deciding the cases before them.
overruled common law) Aids to Interpretation – courts SOLE task is to do the best it can to determine the legislative INTENT. Not to improve, or change the meaning. A court sometimes reference to a dictionary or reference. Presumed that legislative bodies use words in common, ordinary sense. Court will examine the law’s textual context, which involves reading the statute as a whole rather than concentrating solely on the language in question Third aid, the statutes legislative history (the transcripts and committee report that provide a wealth of info about the background and purpose of the law, the reason for using specific language, and how/why amendments and deletions were made. Fourth, the statute circumstantial context may be taken into account. Which are the conditions or social problem that led the legislature to act Fifth, a court will consider precedent when interpreting a statute such as prior judicial interpretations of the same statute, or of similar language in another statute Courts must frequently interpret statutes BEFORE applying them because…. 1. Legislatures sometimes draft statutes with an element of “deliberate imprecision” which give courts a degree of latitude in applying it 2. Even if a legislature tries to define all the key elements of a statute with great precision, the effort fails because some concepts are difficult to define without reference to facts 3. Complex process of amendment and deletion as a bill goes through the legislature sometimes leads to a product that is LESS clear than the original bill 4. Choice of language may have been result of compromise in legislature, which can lead to a lack of clarity 5. At its best, language is imperfect, and few words are susceptible to but one meaning Uniform State Statutes: Uniform Commercial Code – most successful and important uniform act. Adopted in whole, in all states except Louisiana. Article 2 governs contracts for the sale of goods in this country.
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