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.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.