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Not all statutes are created equal. Appropriations laws perform important public functions, but they are usually short-sighted and have little effect on the law beyond the years for which they apportion public monies. Most substantive statutes adopted by Congress and state legislatures reveal little more ambition: they cover narrow subject areas or represent legislative compromises that are short-term fixes to bigger problems and cannot easily be defended as the best policy result that can be achieved. Some statutes reveal ambition but do not penetrate deeply into American norms or institutional practice. Even fewer statutes successfully penetrate public normative and institutional culture in a deep way. These last are what we call super-statutes.

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