, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 355-357
Date: 17 Apr 2008

Comments on ‘Strategic Manoeuvring with the Intention of the Legislator in the Justification of Judicial Decisions’

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The Supreme Court’s 1892 decision in Holy Trinity Church versus United States that Eveline Feteris had chosen for her study demonstrating the importance of pragma-dialectical theory is a most prominent case in law theories. The case that goes back to 1892 is considered as being a classical case (in the US) of the debate whether judges should interpret statutes and the Constitution in a literal way or not. More technically speaking, the debate is about whether judges interpreting statutes should consult legislative history as a reliable and necessary interpretative source. The feature that had made Holy Trinity so prominent was that it is the first majority opinion of the Supreme Court to give legislative history sufficient weight to trump contrary statutory text. Among the manifold argument against the legislative-history position, there are two which are particularly important: First, according to the textualist position, statutes themselves are the law, reliance on legislative histor ...