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The Confusing Language Of Mcculloch V. Maryland: Did Marshall Really Know What He Was Doing (Or Meant)?, Sanford Levinson
Arkansas Law Review
All legal “interpretation” involves confrontation with inherently indeterminate language. I have distinguished in my own work between what I call the Constitution of Settlement and the Constitution of Conversation. The former includes those aspects of the Constitution that do indeed seem devoid of interpretive challenge, such as the unfortunate assignment of two senators to each state or the specification of the terms of office of representatives, senators, and presidents. I am quite happy to concede that “two,” “four,” and “six” have determinate meaning, though my concession is not based on a fancy theory of linguistics. It is, rather, a recognition ...