As judges have debated the best method of constitutional and statutory interpretation, scholars have begun calling for increased constraints on the methodological freedoms of Article III judges. This Note rejects such proposals on constitutional grounds. Drawing upon the jurisprudence and scholarship on inherent powers, I argue that interpretive choice is an inherent judicial power. The drafting and ratification history of Article III demonstrates that the Framers expected federal judges to interpret the law. To accomplish this task, however, judges must have some methodological approach to help them prioritize interpretive evidence. Thus, imposition of a binding interpretive methodology upon federal judges would pose two constitutional problems. First, it would infringe the essential judicial function of interpretive deliberation. Second, it would prevent the judiciary as a whole from engaging in its most powerful constitutional check on the excesses of the political branches. Because interpretive freedom is necessary to the fulfillment of the Article III judicial function, that freedom must be considered an inherent power vested in all federal judges.
Jennifer M. Bandy,
Interpretive Freedom: A Necessary Component of Article III Judging ,
61 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol61/iss3/3