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22 Jurimetrics J. 294 (1981-1982)
The U.S. Supreme Court and the Use of Legislative Histories: A Statistical Analysis

handle is hein.journals/juraba22 and id is 310 raw text is: THE U.S. SUPREME COURT AND THE
Jorge L. Carrot and Andrew R. Brannt
Few things of the law have lent themselves so handily to voluminous
legal scholarship as the use of legislative histories in judicial decision
making. The courts are constantly being praised or admonished for
their attempts to grasp coherence from the vast records of legislative
hearings and debates that precede any bill before it becomes the law
of the land. The use of legislative history to interpret the intent or
purpose of the legislature is a consequence of what some have called
the terminal malady of the legal profession: That we are constantly
being called upon to define the limits of social conduct with an imper-
fect language.
The search for definitional tools has led American courts to search
the plethora of legislative records for evidence to help decipher the
meaning of the one word or phrase, the definition of which is critical
to a particular case at hand. Scholars and academicians argue how
these records and materials should be used. What is the meaning of
intent, or purpose, or meaning itself? Which hearings and rec-
ords are dispositive and helpful, and which are not? Undoubtedly the
questions raised and the answers proposed are helpful to some jurists
and not so helpful to others. Nevertheless, these works are valuable
*Substantially as published in 19 NOTRE DAME LAW SCHOOL, JOURNAL OF
LEGISLATION 2 (Summer 1982).
tJorge L. Carro is a Professor of Law and Head Law Librarian, University
of Cincinnati College of Law.
*Andrew R. Brann is Acting Librarian, University of Kansas School of Law.
The authors acknowledge the contribution of Theodore Squillante, Esq.,
Judicial Clerk for Hon. James Duke Cameron, Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme


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