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Puposivism Outline

Law Outlines > Legislation and Regulation (Admin Law) Outlines

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PURPOSIVISM i. Adherents believe that a court should attribute a purpose to a statute and then construe the details of that statute to be consistent with its general purpose; that the principle of legislative supremacy not only permits but requires the court to deviate from a literalist reading of the text. ii. Adherents believe that reshaping the text to fit a statute's apparent purpose is not substituting the will of a judge for that of a legislator, but rather a superior way of discovering the true legislative will or intent (superior to text). iii. Based on an idea that Congress enacts a law to achieve a purpose, and interpreters should read those laws accordingly. iv. Purposivism assumes that because of limited legislative foresight and the transaction costs of translating policies into words, Congress will sometimes inadvertently fail to draft a stuatte that captures its background purposes. v. "Light Purposivists" will use purpose as a tie breaker to help construe ambiguous statutes. vi. "Hardcore Purposivists" will set aside even clear text when it conflicts with the general purpose. vii. Riggs v. Palmer: (Strong Purposivism)

1. Facts: Deceased left estate to grandson. In order to prevent the deceased from revoking the will, the grandson murdered his grandfather and claimed the property, claiming that because the testator is dead and because his will was made in due form, the will must have effect according to the New York Wills Formalities Act.

2. Applicable Statutory Language: "No will in writing, except in the cases hereinafter mentioned, nor any part thereof, shall be revoked or altered otherwise."

3. Issue: Whether a beneficiary who murders the testator be permitted to inherit that which was willed.

4. Holding: It would be inconceivable and unreasonable to suppose that it was the legislature's intent, in enacting a law for the orderly, peaceable, and just devolution of property, to allow the operation of the law in favor of one who murdered his ancestor so that he might expedite his inheritance.

5. PLAIN MEANING a. Both the majority and dissent emphasized that the plain meaning was clearly that one cannot revoke a will unless certain exceptions apply (undue influence, coercion, duress, forgery, etc.), and as none of the exceptions include murdering testator, the courts cannot revoke or alter the will.

6. PURPOSE

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