While there seems to be no end to books, articles, essays, blog posts and symposia on constitutional interpretation, relatively little attention is paid to the all-too-important issue of statutory interpretation. Well, that is changing with the advent of a new book by the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The work is aptly titled Judging Statutes (Oxford University Press) and its author is Robert Katzmann. It is already drawing impressive attention as evidenced by the following:
- a C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb
- a NYRB review essay by retired Justice John Paul Stevens,
- commentaries by Jeffrey Toobin (The New Yorker) and Norman Ornstein (The Atlantic), and
- Tony Mauro’s story in The National Law Journal.
Among other scholarly venues, there have already been programs on the book at the following places:
- New York University Law School
- Georgetown University Law School, and
- The Roosevelt House at Hunter College.
Of course, Judge Katzmann does not, by any measure, occupy this field alone. His chief scholarly rivals are Justice Antonin Scalia and Mr. Bryan A. Garner, who two years ago published the much-noticed Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. To be sure, the Chief Judge has a different interpretive take, though he approaches his subject with diplomacy, nuance, and a comprehensive knowledge of how the federal legislative process works. (Another leading book in this area is Legislation and Statutory Interpretation by William Eskridge, Philip Fricky and Elizabeth Garrett.)
Federal appeals judge Robert Katzmann’s new book [is attracting impressive attention]. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were in the front row of the audience on Tuesday at a Georgetown University Law Center event marking the Sept. 11 publication of Katzmann’s book Judging Statutes. . . . The Justices’ presence signaled that, as Georgetown Law dean William Treanor put it, Katzmann’s book is ‘already having incredible influence, even as it is just being published.'” –– Tony Mauro
→ In case you missed it, check out my Q & A interview with Chief Judge Katzmann over at SCOTUSblog.
(Full disclosure: I have known Robert Katzmann for many years.)
→ Coming soon: POSNER ON POSNER (a five-part Q & A series prefaced by an unconventional two-part biographical essay).