Today, statutes make up the bulk of the relevant law heard in federal courts and arguably represent the most important source of American law. The proper means of judicial interpretation of those statutes have been the subject of great attention and dispute over the years. This book provides new insights into the theory and practice of statutory interpretation by courts.
Cross offers the first comprehensive analysis of statutory interpretation and includes extensive empirical evidence of Supreme Court practice. He offers a thorough review of the active disputes over the appropriate approaches to statutory interpretations, namely whether courts should rely exclusively on the text or also examine the legislative history. The book then considers the use of these approaches by the justices of the recent Rehnquist Court and the degree to which they were applied by the justices, either sincerely or in pursuit of an ideological agenda.
About the author
Frank B. Cross is the Herbert D. Kelleher Centennial Professor of Business Law at the University of Texas. He is the author of Decision Making in the U.S. Courts of Appeals (Stanford, 2007), and The Failed Promise of Originalism (Stanford, 2012), among other books.
"Cross's work offers genuinely new insights about statuatory interpretation and challenges established ways of thinking about this area of law. Throughout his inquiry, Cross adopts a curious, clear-eyed, and directed approach; he seeks to advance the project of "creating a coherent system" for interpreting statutes."
—The Law and Politics Book Review
"Cross's findings, based on careful empiricism, provide a welcome contrast with the often overwrought claims of many prolific proponents of particular interpretive methodologies. This important contribution to the field will be of value both for teaching and for research."
—Richard Pierce, George Washington University
"Advancing a new approach to the enduring challenge of statutory interpretation, Cross delivers a bold and provocative scholarly contribution."
—Michael Heise, Cornell University