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While traditional American legal education has focused primarily on the judicial branch of government, legislatures and regulatory agencies are responsible for the vast majority of today's law creation and law implementation in fields from health insurance regulation, to motor vehicle operation, to environmental protection, to the mechanics of voting, to stimulating the economy, to the criminalization of internet piracy, to the distribution of tax burdens, to name only some. Because well-equipped attorneys need a comprehensive grounding in legislative and regulatory processes and the relationships among all three branches of government, many law schools now teach some version of a course in Legislation and Regulation in the first year.
This Nutshell addresses all the major topics of these courses, including the central question of how courts and agencies should interpret ambiguous statutes. Part I describes the functioning of modern-day legislatures and administrative agencies, including not only their essential mechanics but also theories of democratic representation. Part II then builds on this foundation to develop the principal theories and doctrines of statutory and regulatory interpretation. It includes detailed discussions of the various "intrinsic" and "extrinsic" interpretive tools, as well as the competing interpretive approaches of Textualism and Purposivism. It also includes a chapter devoted to the Chevron doctrine and the question of how courts should review agency interpretations of statutes.