When Justice Elena Kagan announced that “we’re all textualists now,” she was referring to a method of statutory interpretation known as textualism. Textualism is one of four methods of statutory interpretation. The other methods are: intentionalism, purposivism, and legal pragmatism. During the confirmation process, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was asked by Senators whether she was committed to a “textualist theory” of statutory interpretation, and whether she shared the judicial philosophy of Justice Scalia. But why is the method of statutory interpretation that a judge chooses so important? It is important because most cases that come before federal courts today involve issues of statutory interpretation, and the method of interpretation a judge chooses can determine the outcome of a case. This article will argue that textualism is preferable to the other three methods of statutory interpretation, especially legal pragmatism.
Caroline Bermeo Newcombe,
Textualism: Definition, and 20 Reasons Why Textualism is Preferable to Other Methods of Statutory Interpretation,
87 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol87/iss1/7