Monday, December 18, 2006

Charming Betsy

Charming BetsyFellow statute-readers, there is no longer any doubt that you'll be able to remember the Supreme Court's leading case outlining the canon counseling courts to interpret statutes so as to avoid constitutional doubts. The Schooner Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. (2 Cranch) 604 (1804) (Marshall, C.J.), has inspired its own website, Charming Betsy. The site's motto? Avoiding constitutional doubt since 1804. As of December 18, 2006, the site consists of exactly one post, but it's a good one. This is one-stop shopping for the "dog didn't bark" canon in statutory interpretation:
Cf. 1 Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze, in Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories 455 (Bantam Classics 1986), cited with approval in Griffin v. Oceanic Constractors, 458 U.S. 564 (1982) (Stevens, J., dissenting); Harrison v. PPG Industries, Inc., 446 U.S. 578, 602 (1980) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting). But cf. 1 Titus Livius, The History of Rome 411-413 (1892) (D. Spillan translation), cited in Chisom v. Roemer, 501 U.S. 380 (1991) (Scalia, J. dissenting) ("Statutes are the law though sleeping dogs lie.").
Heart of hearts, I believe that the author of the Charming Betsy site is a current or former student of mine. If I'm right, I can count the existence of this hilarious website as a modest but palpable victory in my teaching career at Minnesota. Whoever you are, "Charming Betsy," you made my day. It's nice to win one on the way out the door.


Blogger Elizabeth Weeks Leonard said...

Possible link? Drunken Irish band, Flogging Molly:

Perhaps little to say on statutory interpretation, but some nautical themes, see, e.g., "Salty Dog."

12/19/2006 5:59 PM  

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