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An Extended Footnote To 'Statutory Constructions Not For The Timid'
By Edward J. Imwinkerlried
This is the Age of Statutes.1 The majority of the cases on the docket of the United States Supreme Court pose questions of statutory interpretation rather than common law or even constitutional law. In 2006, the outcome for the client often depends more on the attorney’s skill in developing statutory construction arguments than on his or her facility in case analysis.
Given the modern importance of statutes, I was delighted when I saw that the January/February 2006 issue of The Champion included an excellent article devoted to statutory construction.2 Jon May, an experienced criminal practitioner, began the article with a general discussion of “the plain meaning rule.” He then reviewed many of the specific canons or maxims of interpretation that the courts employ in statutory construction. In the course of his article, May remarked that “much of the academic writing [on the topic of statutory interpretation] is so theoretical as to be useless to the practitioner and one suspects to the
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