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December 14, 2006

New Law Review Article

Anthony J. Bellia Jr., STATE COURTS AND THE INTERPRETATION OF FEDERAL STATUTES 59 Vand. L. Rev. 1501 (Oct. 2006) is an interesting piece. I have only begun to peruse it, and it's not on line as near as I can tell. One passage in particular I thought was quite intriguing in its implications: "state courts most often interpreted federal statutes according to the import of statutory language, a means understood to be geared toward the implementation of actual legislative directives. Where state courts employed less text-focused means of statutory interpretation (for example, by examining purposes or consequences), they did so either to support independent textual analyses or for the stated purpose of giving effect to congressional intent."

Are state courts, when construing a federal statute, required to follow "federal principles" (law?) of statutory interpretation? What about the converse: a federal court, let's say, is strictly textualist, but a state court is more open to intent and evidence thereof. Given that a federal court sitting in diversity is supposed to make its best guess as to what the state court would say the law is, seems like state interpretive principles should control. But what of the converse?

I'm sure someone's written about it. If not, why not you?

December 14, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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