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38 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 1909 (2004-2005)
Judging Statutes: Interpretive Regimes

handle is hein.journals/lla38 and id is 1949 raw text is: JUDGING STATUTES:
INTERPRETIVE REGIMES
Nancy Staudt, Lee Epstein, Peter Wiedenbeck,
Rene Lindstiidt & Ryan J. Vander Wielen*
I. INTRODUCTION
Theories of statutory interpretation abound. Scholars, judges,
and commentators have long puzzled over the best method to locate
the meaning of a statute and to this end have proposed a range of
approaches that rely on various forms of evidence, including
statutory text, legislative intent, agency interpretations, cultural
norms, and judicial precedent.' These theories do not merely offer
* Nancy Staudt is Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis; Lee
Epstein is the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of
Political Science and Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis;
Peter J. Wiedenbeck is the Joseph H. Zumbalen Professor of Law and
Associate Dean of the Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis; Rent
Lindstddt and Ryan J. Vander Wielen are Ph.D. candidates in Political Science
at Washington University in St. Louis. We are grateful to the National Science
Foundation for supporting our research, to Andrew D. Martin for offering
useful comments, and to James J. Brudney and Corey Ditslear for providing us
with their data on civil rights cases. We used R (http://www.R-project.org)
and Stata to conduct the analyses and generate the graphs presented in
this article. The project's web site (http://epstein.wustl.edu/research/rationales
.html) houses the database. Please e-mail all correspondence to Nancy Staudt,
ncstaudt@wulaw.wustl.edu.
1. The literature here is voluminous; for an excellent introduction, see
WILLIAM N. ESKRIDGE, JR. ET AL., LEGISLATION: STATUTES AND THE
CREATION OF PUBLIC POLICY (2001) [hereinafter ESKRIDGE ET AL.,
LEGISLATION]. Of course, despite the number of studies, no consensus exists
as to how federal courts should use this evidence. See, e.g., WILLIAM N.
ESKRIDGE, JR., DYNAMIC STATUTORY INTERPRETATION 130-81 (1994)
[hereinafter ESKRIDGE, DYNAMIC INTERPRETATION] (defending an approach
that permits judicial reliance on text, legislative history, and contemporary
norms); ANTONIN SCALIA, A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION: FEDERAL COURTS
AND THE LAW 29-37 (1997) (arguing for a textualist interpretive process);
Martin H. Redish & Theodore T. Chung, Democratic Theory and the
Legislative Process: Mourning the Death of Originalism in Statutory

1909

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