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Statutory and Common Law Interpretation$
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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756148.001.0001

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The Place of Legislative History, and Purpose v. Specific Meanings

The Place of Legislative History, and Purpose v. Specific Meanings

(p.77) Chapter 4 The Place of Legislative History, and Purpose v. Specific Meanings
Statutory and Common Law Interpretation

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

This chapter first discusses the status of legislative history, a critical component of how courts should discern a statute's original meaning. Used without serious controversy during most of the twentieth century, the relevance of legislative history has become seriously contested. It then considers the use of legislative history to disclose what members of the legislature, or trusted staff, actually understood (or would have understood) statutory language to cover in particular circumstances. This is followed by discussions of alternative theories about the use of legislative history and the import of specific provisions versus purposes.

Keywords:   courts, statutes, legislature, legislative history

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