illogicality rule Not a judge’s job to determine if a statute is logical 33
But legal process might come back and say that the government is trying to make rational policies o Exceptions to plain meaning dissent discusses None of these actually apply in this case, which is why court should have stuck to the plain meaning Constitutional avoidance doctrine Court may deviate if interpretation could render statute unconst. Otherwise you would be invalidating an act of Congress by using the interpretation that renders law against the constitution o Then congress would not be able to change that, this ends the discussion between leg/judiciary Scrievener’s error They only correct clerical and typographical errors but this isn’t one Absurdity doctrine If plain meaning should not be used if result is absurd But what is “absurd” is high contestable Dissent rails against an “illogicality rule” o Statute being illogical isn’t enough to change it The illogic here is really deep, so this exception may be in play more than dissent really gives credit to o Policy arguments If legislative supremacy is the touchstone of the judiciary, this does not feel like respecting process Majority would say that by rewriting the statute what they are trying to do is fulfill what congress really meant Rewriting laws means citizens can’t trust the text of laws Dynamic Statutory Interpretation - Eskridge o Role of a judge is one of “ relational agen cy” Influenced by legal process movement Judge is doing work legislature asks of it Should adapt the commands issued by the legislature over time Fetch the Soup Meat example Judges sometimes forego specific intent or plain meaning in favor of purposivist thinking o Meta-intent Although legislature issues specific commands, they on some level expect the judiciary to adapt, be reasonable, and effectuate underlying purposes We may feel better or worse about judges implementing a meta-intent depending on the level of expertise or if area of law - Favors the Weber decision 34
o Actually on Blackmun’s pragmatic reasoning Blackmun is a good dynamic interpreter o Statutes evolve The underlying purpose for the statue was no longer being effectuated Brennan draws on purposivist sources but it’s a little misleading to call it a purposivist analysis o Holy Trinity Church This isn’t really dynamic statutory interpretation traditionally HTC interpreted the statute in the context of the time it was passed Dynamic interpretation tends to believe statute evolves with society o This draws on very vague norms - In re matter of Jacob (NY CoA) o Policy rationale generally Adoptions are good for children, statutes should be read in that light Analysis should be driven by child’s best interest o NY legislature has changed who may adopt, meta-intent is to keep adapting statute o Constitutional avoidance problems NY interprets statutes in the way that does not raise constitutional issues if two interpretations are possible
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