14 Nov Justice Sotomayor takes a look at ‘statutory history,’ not ‘legal history’
The other early morning, while paying attention to the oral argument in Patchak v. Zinke, I was struck with the sense of deja vu.
” I take a look at statutory history,” revealed Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the middle of a prolonged concern to among the lawyers. Had not I heard this prior to?
I got on Westlaw and, sure enough, Sotomayor stated similar thing a week previously throughout the oral argument in Artis v. District of Columbia From the records:
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Well, my issue is that I take a look at statutory history; not legal history, statutory history. And the statutory history is that the ALI report stated a really clear grace duration. (focus included)
Here once again, Sotomayor revealed her interest in “statutory history,” while likewise taking discomforts to highlight that she was not accepting dependence upon “legal history.”
For exactly what it deserves, the expressions “legal history” and “statutory history” both appear with some frequency in oral argument records, however I might not discover other circumstances where a justice made an effort to differentiate the 2. The very same holds true for Supreme Court viewpoints, as far as I can inform.
In some lower court viewpoints, nevertheless, there is a difference drawn in between statutory history and legal history. Particularly, the previous is comprehended as the preparing or modification history of the appropriate statutory text, whereas the latter consists of explanatory declarations by lawmakers, flooring disputes and so forth. By some accounts, statutory history is a subset of legal history.
Some analysts see the 2 as similarly probative of statutory significance, whereas others would argue that the previous is more unbiased and less susceptible to control than the latter. Whereas trusting legal history can be identified as looking out on a crowd and choosing your good friends, statutory history is exempt to the very same review. Maybe this is why Sotomayor felt the have to draw the difference. I will wonder whether this difference is attracted a future Sotomayor viewpoint.