How Statutory Interpretation Contributes to Democratic Decline and What Congress Can Do to Fix It
The Supreme Court’s statutory interpretation jurisprudence is weakening democracy in the United States by reducing the ability of the federal government to tackle major issues of national concern. Because legislating in the modern American political environment is difficult, Congress has adopted or adapted various procedural mechanisms under its Article I powers to pass major legislation. The Supreme Court’s statutory interpretation doctrines, however, have failed to keep pace with these procedural developments. As a result, the Court’s interpretive methods actively inhibit Congress’s ability to govern by discouraging common and necessary procedural techniques like leadership drafting and reconciliation. This Note examines the Court’s statutory interpretation doctrines and their negative effect on modern legislating and state capacity through the Court–Congress dialogue. It also recommends several possible legislative remedies, like funding enhanced legislative education and a judicial “Office of Legislative Research,” to help courts better interpret statutes and reverse the decline in American state capacity.