‘Interpretation and construction 2: Samuel Williston’

“In my last post on the interpretation-construction distinction I described Francis Lieber’s supplemental view of construction, which can be found in his 1839 book, Legal and Political Hermeneutics. Lieber’s view is characterized by two claims. First, construction is supplemental: it steps in only when interpretation runs out. Second, the activity of construction is for the most part continuous with that of interpretation. ‘Construction is the building up with given elements, not the forcing of extraneous matter into a text.’ (144) That said, Lieber also recognizes that sometimes construction departs from the spirit of the text, such as when the text yields to a superior legal principle …” (more)

[Greg Klass, New Private Law, 23 November]

Leave a Reply