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The Politics of Legal Interpretation

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Abstract

Is legal interpretation a kind of scientific enterprise? Can there be such a thing as a ‘scientific interpretation’ in the law? And why do such questions matter? Are they even worth asking? My aim in this essay is to look into questions of this sort, in order to show, ultimately, that legal interpretation belongs less to the realm of science than to the realm of politics: legal interpretation, I will argue, is an intensely evaluative and decisional activity rather than a descriptive, objective and value-neutral one (as science is normally supposed to be). And, as a consequence, defining legal interpretation, or at least some of its varieties, in terms of a scientific activity carries the risk of distorting some central features—indeed the very ‘essence’—of the practice known as ‘legal interpretation’.

Keywords

Interpretation Legal scholarship Value choices in law 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università degli Studi Roma TreRomeItaly

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