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Judicial interpretation is a theory or mode of thought that explains how the judiciary should interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents and legislation (see statutory interpretation). An interpretation which results in or supports some form of law-making role for the judiciary in interpreting the law is sometimes pejoratively characterized as judicial activism, the opposite of which is judicial lethargy, with judicial restraint somewhere in between.

In the United States, there are various methods of constitutional interpretation:

  • Textualism is when judges consult the actual language of the Constitution first, and perhaps last, according to government scholar John E. Finn, who added that the method has an "obvious appeal" for its simplicity but can be hampered when the language of the Constitution itself is ambiguous.[1]
  • Strict constructionism is when a judge interprets the text only as it is spoken; once a clear meaning has been established, there is no need for further analysis, and judges should avoid drawing inferences from previous statutes or the constitution and instead focus on exactly what was written.[2] For example, Justice Hugo Black argued that the First Amendment's wording in reference to certain civil rights that Congress shall make no law should mean exactly that: no law, no exceptions, end of story, according to Black.
  • Founders' Intent is when judges try to gauge the intentions of the authors of the Constitution. Problems can arise when judges try to determine which particular Founders or Framers to consult, as well as try to determine what they meant based on often sparse and incomplete documentation.[1]
  • Originalism is when judges try to apply the "original" meanings of various constitutional provisions.[1]
  • Balancing happens when judges weigh one set of interests or rights against an opposing set, typically used to make rulings in First Amendment cases. This approach was criticized by Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter who argued that the Constitution gives no guidance about how to weigh or measure divergent interests.[1]
  • Prudentialism discourages judges from setting broad rules for possible future cases, and advises courts to play a limited role.[1]
  • Doctrinalism considers how various parts of the Constitution have been "shaped by the Court's own jurisprudence", according to Finn.[1]
  • Precedent is when judges decide a case by looking to the decision of a previous and similar case according to stare decisis, and finds a rule or principle in the earlier case to guide the current case.[1]
  • Structuralism is a method judges use by finding the meaning of a particular constitutional principle only by "reading it against the larger constitutional document or context," according to Finn.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h John E. Finn (2006). "Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights". The Teaching Company. "Part I: Lecture 4: The Court and Constitutional Interpretation (see pages 52, 53, 54 in the guidebook)" 
  2. ^ The Judiciary: The Power of the Federal Judiciary, The Social Studies Help Center

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_interpretation — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

169 news items

 
Lexology (registration)
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:18:45 -0700

The Supreme People's Court of China (SPC) published on 16 July 2014 the Decision on Amendments to Several Provisions of the Supreme People's Court of China on Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Trial of Patent Dispute Cases (Draft for ...
 
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 04:03:45 -0700

The People's Supreme Court of the PRC promulgated the second judicial interpretation on various issues in relation to the application of the PRC Enterprise Bankruptcy Law (EBL) on 16 September 2013 (2nd Interpretation) . It consists of 48 articles with ...
 
Lexology (registration)
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 03:18:45 -0700

The judicial interpretation sets out 12 types of trademark cases which shall be accepted by the People's Courts, such as disputes over trademark ownership, disputes over infringement of the exclusive right to use a trademark, disputes over the ...

Businessweek

Businessweek
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:44:47 -0700

A judicial interpretation issued in September 2013 made the online transmission of rumors that are false or defamatory punishable by up to three years in prison and the loss of political rights. Chinese authorities have accordingly jailed a number of ...

Daily Sun

Daily Sun
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:37:30 -0700

... Musiliu Obanikoro, also got the President to assign them to their current portfolios, then APC should be applauded for its move to get judicial interpretation of the said constitutional power of a partisan president to deploy the troops for a civil ...
 
Shanghai Daily (subscription)
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:11:15 -0700

The statement did not specify what kind of heavier punishments rumormongers could face. In September, the country began to implement a 10-clause judicial interpretation. People who post defamatory comments online would face up to three years in prison ...

KyForward.com

KyForward.com
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:00:00 -0700

This story about John Rosenberg is reprinted from Steve Flairty's 2008 book, “Kentucky's Everyday Heroes.” Rosenberg, though retired as Appalred director, remains active and effective in the community and state in a host of ways: social justice ...
 
MarketWatch
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:03:45 -0700

... evolving issues with respect to interpretation of coverage after major loss events; our ability to adequately model and price the effect of climate cycles and climate change; any intervening legislative or governmental action and changing judicial ...
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