Robert Katzmann's "Judging Statutes"

Peter L. Strauss, Columbia Law School


Chief Judge Robert Katzmann has written a compelling short book about statutory interpretation, stressing the importance to sensible interpretation of knowing Congress as an institution (as few judges do). Both as a resource for teaching, and as a useful compendium of the current literature, it is a very welcome addition to the genre. Though he is careful and fair to both, readers will not be surprised to find his views on the purposive rather than the textualist side of the current disputes. The book could set the framework for a two or three hour legislation class supplemented by cases and other readings of the instructor’s choosing. Or it might more simply be used as an independent reading assignment as law school begins, to apprise twenty-first century law students just how important the interpretation of statutes will prove to be in the profession they are entering, and how unsettled are the judiciary’s means of dealing with them. It should be required reading for all who teach in the field.