16 October 2006

Common Sense Prevails

I applaud the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit for ruling, in accord with the 9th Circuit, 10th Circuit and 11th Circuit, for using a little common sense.

An appeal deadline in the 2005 Class Action Fairness Act, which was intended to establish a seven day deadline for filing an appeal, but instead, due to a typographical error, instead, by its terms established no deadline for filing an appeal but instead a seven day waiting period for filing an appeal. All four circuits have been bold enough to recognize that legislative intent is more important in a case like this one than slavish adherence to statutory text which contains a typo, even when the Congress has plainly said the opposite of what it meant.

No appellate court has made a contrary ruling to date.

Of course, it is inexcusable that the Congress has taken so long to fix an obvious and uncontroversial mistake in statutory drafting. Indeed, the immense sloth Congress shows in fixing even its obvious mistakes is one of the reasons we need courts to care about statutory intent, rather than the raw language of a statute standing alone.

No comments: