I’ve been admitted to the bar in California for 33 years and for most of that time we’ve had a continuing education requirement of some 15 hours a year. I’ve handily exceeded that minimum every year. When I was new and a generalist, there was so much to learn; when I specialized, I found depths of bankruptcy practice that I had not imagined. So when one program sticks out against that background, you have to say “Wow”.
Judge Thomas Waldron & Judge Bruce Markell spoke on statutory construction at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in San Francisco in 2006. Could there be a topic that appeared drier on its face?
Yet BAPCPA was new and everywhere we turned, we faced questions about what did it mean and how was a judge to know, or what should an advocate argue. An hour with Judge Waldron and at least I understood the issues, with a clarity that was startling. He laid out a four step process for statutory interpretation of what was charitably described as the “often inattentive drafting” of BAPCPA.
While I can’t whisk you back in time to San Francisco in 2006 to see it live, I can point you to the written version of his thoughts on the subject. It’s Waldron and Berman, Principled Principles of Statutory Interpretation: A Judicial Perspective after Two Years of BAPCPA, 81 Am. Bankr. L.J. 195 (Summer 2007). Waldron lays out a four step process for statutory interpretation of what was charitably described as the “often inattentive drafting” of BAPCPA.
Some of the issues that were unresolved then are settling out now as we get some Supreme Court decisions. I dare you to read this and not better understand the thinking and the choices presented to the bench.
Image courtesy of judepics
George E. Bourguignon, Jr. says
Thanks for the tip. Statutory construction/interpretation remains the most popular task of the US Sup. Ct. by the way.
Statutory interpretation has to be at the heart of every argument we make in a court room. My clarion call is “read the statute first”.