A Lesson From Justice Scalia On Legislative History

Law360 (April 20, 2010, 2:27 PM EDT) -- In a recent opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia once again took the opportunity to discuss the role he believes legislative history should (or, more accurately, should not) play in the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal statutes.

While there was nothing unusual about Justice Scalia writing separately to articulate his well-established position on this issue, the frequency with which he does so provides occasion for practitioners to consider how much emphasis to place on legislative history when arguing for a particular reading of a statute.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many tools of statutory interpretation, it is nearly impossible to develop...

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