Based on a true story, this brief Essay begins with a proclamation by Mother, the Supreme Lawmaker, that "no food may be eaten outside the kitchen." What follows is a series of rulings by Judges--father, babysitter, grandma (a liberal jurist, of course), and others--who, using traditional tools of interpretation, eventually declare it to mean that all food may be eaten outside of the kitchen. Ultimately, the supreme lawmaker reacts and clarifies.
The piece is meant to demonstrate the following:
* We all regularly use the basic tools and modes of statutory interpretation;
* When we interpret pronouncements in real life, we resort to a mix of textualist, literalist, purposivist, legal process, precedent, and other techniques and sources;
* Although the various tools seem perfectly reasonable individually, in the aggregate, they can lead to ridiculous results;
* Even when we agree that the ultimate results are ridiculous, it is sometimes hard to pinpoint exactly where the error occurred.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/hillel_levin/1/