This offering meets 2 hours per week, but is worth 3 points of credit. The additional point of credit reflects the instructor's certification that the course assignments require student engagement and responsibilities beyond that found in a two hour lecture course.
This seminar will consider various theories about interpretation of legal texts. Although we shall cover statutory interpretation and constitutional interpretation (and most student papers tend to be on those topics), we shall also pay some attention to interpretation of wills, trusts, and contracts. In these contexts, we will evaluate the claims of textualism, intentionalism, purposivism, evolutionary interpretation, and other approaches. Most of the readings will be of scholarly writings, but some cases will be included. In the first part of the semester, we will discuss assigned materials. In the second part, we will discuss drafts of students' papers. For these, participants can choose among a wide range of topics, including interpretation in other disciplines, such as religion and literature. Prior to the discussions in seminar, other students will write brief comments about the papers. The final papers will respond to those comments as well as the review of the professor. Evaluation will be based mainly on the final paper, but will include comments on other papers and class discussion.
Major Writing Credit will be granted automatically to students who complete the written work as required by the instructor.