Toward a Theory of Legal Interpretation

Abstract
By “legal interpretation” I mean the legally authoritative resolution of questions about what the content of the law is in its application to particular cases. It is the interpretation of legal texts by legally authoritative actors. One aspect of it is epistemological and one is constitutive. The epistemological task is to ascertain the content of laws resulting from previous actions of other legally authoritative sources. The constitutive task is to render an authoritative judgment that itself plays a role in determining what the content of the law is. Sometimes this judgment changes the content of the laws, or legal provisions, that were the focus of the epistemological task.
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