Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wide or Narrow?

I am fasting today, and thus I am not entirely there (and I really wanted to see Apple announce the 13.3" iBook that they did not. Bummer.) so please excuse this post if it is not to your liking. On my last day here at Schumer's I have been listening to the Alito hearings and have been tuning in and out (More out than in during the MacworldExpo Keynote Address). I did catch something this morning something that caught my interest. Alito opined that his judicial philosophy would instruct him to rule, "not going to broader grounds when a narrower is a fair one." Why is that the case? Why should we think that Occam's Razor should apply to law (i.e. simpler is better)? I could image that lovey-dovey liberal environmental laws were enacted to evoke the most liberal reading possible. Why then should they be interpreted narrowly?


jacob said...

You ask why a judge would rule narrowly and then give an example where you could imagine a broad interpretation of a statute. ruling on an issue is different from interpreting a statute. With respect to narrow rulings, you want to have precedent on each issue. You dont want a 5-4 ruling on a broad issue that can then be subdivided because whats left is one opinion meant to cover different but related issues. This is different from stutory interpretation.
You want an example of a broad ruling suseptible to different interpretations that doesnt settle anything? Think Roe v. Wade and the "penumbra of rights." Hardly a nice, clean, precise, and narrow decision.

Kythe said...

I wanted to congratulate you by association since Schumer is one of the few Senators who has been able to really crack Alito.