« Tenth Circuit Originalism: Vogt v. City of Hays
Michael Ramsey
| Main | Originalist Amicus Brief of David Gray, et al. in Carpenter v. United States
Michael Ramsey »

09/15/2017

Neal Goldfarb on Carissa Hessick on Corpus Linguistics
Michael Ramsey

At LAWnLinguistics, Neal Goldfarb: Some comments on Hessick on corpus linguistics.  From the introduction: 

Up until now, the use of corpus linguistics in legal interpretation has gotten almost entirely good press—probably because almost all the press it’s gotten has come from its advocates. That situation has now changed, though, with the posting on SSRN of a paper by UNC law professor Carissa Hessick, who was one of the participants at the BYU law-and-corpus-linguistics symposium this past February. (Hessick has blogged about her paper at Prawfsblawg, here and here.) [Ed.: noted here].

The paper, “Corpus Linguistics and the Criminal Law” (pdf), argues that corpus linguistics “is not an appropriate tool” for interpreting statutes. Although it deals specifically with using corpus linguistics in interpreting criminal statutes, and Hessick’s concerns may not be as strong as to other areas of the law, much of her criticism would apply across the board. In this post I am going to discuss some of the issues that the paper raises, and if you’ve followed this blog before, you won’t be surprised to find out that I disagree with Hessick’s conclusion.

(Via How Appealing).