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Sources Of Interpretative Authority Outline

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1. Facts: TVA began construction of dam in 1967. By the time this case reached the court, the dam was virtually completed, save shutting the gate. Doing so would likely result in the extinction of the snail darter fish, listed by the Secretary of Interior as an endangered species, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Activists sued to prevent TVA from shutting the gate.

2. Applicable Statutory Language: "All federal departments and agencies shall...utilize their taking such action necessary to insure that actions authorized, funded or carried out by them do not jeopardize the continued existence...or result in the destruction of a habitat or modification of the habitat of such species."

3. Issue: Whether the building of the dam is an action authorized, funded or carried out by the agency.

4. Holding: Regardless of the fact that the dam was nearly complete, shutting the gate was indeed an action authorized, funded or carried out by the agency.

5. (1) PLAIN TEXT/ORDINARY MEANING a. Always the starting point in statutory interpretation because it has been ratified pursuant to the constitutionally mandated processes of bicameralism and presentment (Art. I) and it may be the best empirical evidence of legislative intent. i. The constitutional process gives the text a lineage to the people. ii. Both majority and dissent agree that text is starting point. They disagreed about the ordinary meaning of the operative terms and about the importance of the text relative to other tools of construction. b. Sources for determining the meaning of the text: i. Dictionaries---Sources of common usage. ii. Similar Language Used in Previous Law iii. Ordinary Meaning of Words

1. Majority held that "actions" is ordinary language (non-technical) that could not be more clear, and includes shutting the gate. Holding otherwise would be ignoring the ordinary meaning of plain language.

2. Dissenters argued that the meaning of the "actions" was far

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