Legislation Class Notes 4/16/04

 

Interpretation in light of other statutes

 

Why should we bother to look at other statutes?We want to make law consistent with respect to our choice of language.Why would an imaginative reconstruction judge like Posner be unhappy about looking at other statutes?What does an imaginative reconstructionist think about?What makes someone skeptical about borrowing from another statute?If you start borrowing from another statute, you run the risk that youíll graft onto the deal something the dealmakers werenít thinking about.The more you think about a statute as a sui generis deal, the more you run the risk of undercutting the deal.If you donít uphold these deals, the deals might not get made, and that may not be desirable.

 

Textualists like the linguistic context approach of invoking similar statutes.Scalia talked a lot about other statues in Casey v. West Virginia.People who agree with dynamic interpretation may approve in the sense that statutes build upon one another.We can find a policy that develops from a succession of similar statutes building in a certain direction.Casey is an example of a case where Scalia believes they knew how to say ďexpertsĒ, so if they donít use that word, it means something.

 

We have a trio of unusual cases.

 

Cartledge v. Miller

 

The plaintiffs are pension plan committee members.They seek a federal injunction against Cozart for assigning his benefits to his former spouse.The named defendant in the case is the judge who issued the order to assign the benefits.The judge here holds that ERISA does not preclude a court from enforcing family support rights.Is this a super-strong clear statement rule that nobody knew existed before?This is a pretty strong presumption that heís positing.This judge puts a lot of weight on a DC Circuit case.

 

Lorillard v. Pons

 

Does the ADEA give the right to a jury trial?The FLSA provided the right to a jury trial.We have jury trial rights under Title VII.Sometimes thereís a reason the original deal looks a little different because of what people are worried about.Congress was careful to draw not from Title VII in procedural terms.There are reasons to think they did it, and reasons to think that they didnít do it.It might have been perfectly sensible to avoid copying Title VII in just one respect.ďLegal reliefĒ is, historically, a Seventh Amendment term.Thatís where you get a right to a jury trial for damages.Equitable relief has been, historically, judge-given.The equitable relief under Title VII does not entitle you to a jury trial.

 

Morton v. Mancari

 

Subsequent statutes can be a way for guidance to earlier statutes.But itís not always the case.Here we have an Indian Reorganization Act.Plaintiffs who are not Indian changes the hiring preferences as being against the Civil Rights Act.Weíre looking at Title VII as an integrated statutory scheme.Why should we assume that they meant to do it in 1972 when they didnít do it in 1972?Thatís a pretty robust argument.It may not prevail, but itís certainly not trivial.The Court wonders why Congress would have given preferences in teacher training programs for Indian children if they havenít already recognized that these preferences are permissible with respect to government programs.

 

Back to Class Notes