Don’t Know Much About (Legislative) History

Law360, New York (November 2, 2010, 1:23 PM EDT) -- During Justice Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., asked a number of pointed questions about what he viewed as the U.S. Supreme Court’s lack of respect for legislative history as a tool for interpreting statutes. Specifically, Franken criticized a 2001 decision that focused on a specific provision of a federal statute in which Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a 5-4 majority, indicated that the court “need not assess the legislative history of the provision” to determine its meaning.

It is perhaps not surprising that...
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