Ambiguity in Legal Interpretation: Reply to Einer Elhauge
Einer is right to point out an ambiguity in our paper: okay, so people with strong policy preferences are more likely to find statutes unambiguous – but do they then read the statutes to mean what they want them to mean? The answer, as it turns out, is yes. Perhaps we didn’t make that as clear as we should have in the paper we recently published, because we wanted to save those second findings for the next article (which will be released soon). But in short, and as Anup said in his first post, people with strong policy preferences tend to read statutes to conform with those policy preferences – or at least they do that when they are asked which reading is most consistent with the ordinary meaning of the text. But when they are asked what reading they would expected ordinary readers to think most consistent with the ordinary meaning of the text, they are able to let go of their preferences and give answers independent of them.