Monday, October 17, 2005

Dynamic interpretation of statutes....abandon hope all ye who entertain this notion! [link]

The link above leads to a 2004 article in which the writer argues that, at least in areas of the law dealing with science and technology, the federal courts should not wait for Congress to amend statutes, but should interpret statutes "dynamically" in response to changing social contexts.

Oh boy. In plain, non-Vulcan English, this means that the courts should not be bound by the clear language of statutes. I am now hunting the web for other articles on this issue.

"Dynamic statutory interpretation urges courts to abandon their role as "faithful agents" of enacting legislatures, arguing that courts should not merely discern and give effect to the intent of the legislatures, but also interpret statutes in light of changes in societal values that post-date the statute's enactment."

Now that is a truly scary idea. Imagine a dynamically interpreted Internal Revenue Code, or a dynamically interpreted ERISA? Statutory meaning would no longer be fixed. The courts would be the ultimate, indeed the ONLY, entities capable of making law. Legislation would merely be an inconvience to be casually swept aside.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


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