Document Type

Article

Publication Title

University of Pittsburgh Law Review

Publication Date

1987

Abstract

The object of this Article is to provide a description of the legislative process and, based upon this description, some observations about the interpretation of statutes. This undertaking is motivated by my recognition, after six years of serving as Counsel to the New York State Senate Democrats and ten years of teaching law, of how dissimilar actual legislative process is from the judicial renderings of it. This dissimilarity is of particular concern since courts are constitutionally charged with effectuating legislative intent and offer their frequent descriptions of the legislative process in purporting to fulfill this obligation. Moreover, such descriptions often constitute a law student's entire education on legislative process.

These descriptions include both implicit and explicit references to the legislative process. The implicit references are statements of interpretative principles which presume for their legitimacy some consistency between their direction and the general manner in which a legislative body operates. Random examples of these are expressions such as "remedial statutes are to be read broadly," "expressio unius est exclusion alterius," and "all parts of a statute are to be construed together."' The explicit references are notations of actual legislative communication which presume for their legitimacy some reliable relationship between these communications and legislative intent about a particular statute. Examples of these are references to reports, debates, amendments, and postenactment statements.

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