Ambiguity in Legal Interpretation: Steve Williams' Response
I found Anup's article very interesting--surprising that what seems like a relatively modest change of reference point should produce such strong changes in result. But I'm skeptical that it can help judges reach more neutral interpretations, because competent briefs in a case that is at all close alert the judge to the likelihood that non-lunatics can honestly find conflicting meanings in the statute, thus putting the judge in a frame of mind to take competing interpretations seriously. And we've all seen cases in which one set of judges declare that a statute unambiguously means A, and another set declares that it unambiguously means not-A; yet findings of judicial non-neutrality persist.
I've just finished Donald Kagan's "Thucydides: The Reinvention of History," arguing that many of Thucydides's interpretations are unsound and contradicted by the facts he presents. It too suggests to me that non-neutrality will always be with us. Kagan points out that Thucydides provides almost all the information that he (Kagan) uses to claim error in Thucydides's interpretations. That seems a good basic standard for judges; meeting it should help achieve neutrality.