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Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Jim Brudney and I have uploaded our latest, Any:

Our statute books use the word “any” ubiquitously in coverage and exclusion provisions. As any reader of the Supreme Court’s statutory interpretation docket would know, a large number of cases turn on the contested meaning of this so-called universal quantifier. It is hard to make sense of the jurisprudence of “any,” and any effort to offer a unified approach – knowing precisely when its meaning is expansive (along the “literal-meaning” lines of “every” and “all”) or confining (having a contained meaning of “some,” related to properties provided by contextual cues) – is likely to fail. This Article examines legislative drafting manuals, surveys centuries of Court decisions, and conducts in-depth pairwise comparisons of “any” cases to show the word’s flexible meaning in its multiple statutory guises. After evaluating evidence of the variability of “any,” we recommend a new approach, a form of an “any” canon. We encourage adjudicators to appreciate the complexity of “any” more systematically and to consult a full range of sources – as even full-throated textualists have authorized from time to time – offering the relevant larger context judges will need to ascertain the meaning of “any” in any given statutory scheme.

Download it here.

Posted by Ethan Leib on March 14, 2023 at 03:06 PM | Permalink


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