Statutory Interpretation

The federal criminal code provides enhanced penalties for offenses that qualify as crimes of violence. This Note concerns a basic question: What qualifies as a crime of violence? The code offers two seemingly clear definitions, classifying as violent any crime that either (1) includes the use of physical force against the person or property of another as an element of the crime or (2) by its nature involves a substantial risk of the use of physical...

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION FROM THE OUTSIDE

Kevin Tobia,* Brian G. Slocum** & Victoria Nourse***

How should judges decide which linguistic canons to apply in inter­preting statutes? One important answer looks to the inside of the legisla­tive process: Follow the canons that lawmakers contemplate. A different answer, based on the “ordinary meaning” doctrine, looks to the outside: Follow the canons that guide an ordinary person’s understanding of the legal text. We offer a novel framework for empirically testing linguistic canons “from...

Most state and federal employment discrimination statutes prohibit employers from making certain decisions “because of” an employee’s protected characteristics or activities. Courts interpreting this language have developed a number of frameworks and standards to assess whether a plaintiff has demonstrated the causation required to make out a claim of employment discrimination. Two standards frequently invoked by courts are but-for causation...