2008 • $25.00 • 204 pp • paper
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This book questions traditional methods of legal interpretation and challenges the position that objective interpretation of law is possible. Legal interpretation, the author avers, is unavoidably subjective. Benson suggests that “plain meaning,” “purpose,” “intent,” “structure,” “strict construction,” “precedent,” and other legal mysticisms are merely pieces manipulated in a game. Those interested in legal process, legal writing, constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and jurisprudence will find his arguments provocative and engaging. Whether one is a lawyer, judge, journalist, or informed citizen, this look at the on-going battle about whether judges and lawyers “find the law” or “make the law” will be a stimulating read.
“The Interpretation Game is a sobering lesson grounded in the soil of realism. In that regard, Robert Benson is a sort of modern-day Niccolo Machiavelli, though not in any pejorative sense. To reweave a thread of thought borrowed from the father of modern political science: Others will tell you what the law should be, but I will tell you what it is.” — Ronald K.L. Collins, co-author of The Death of Discourse, from the Foreword