Professor Intisar Rabb, “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism at SCOTUS and in Islamic Law”Posted on June 30, 2022
On April 13, 2022 at 3:50- 5:00 pm (EST), PIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb presented the Irving Tragen Lecture on Comparative Law at UC Berkeley Law titled “Metacanons: Comparative Textualism at SCOTUS and in Islamic Law.”This talk took a comparative law look at shared methods of interpretation for textualists in two very different legal systems: American law and Islamic law. She focused on the history and use of certain legal canons– principles of interpretation that judges derive from a kind of interpretive common law and use to resolve ambiguity when confronting novel issues that the text alone does not plainly address. For reasons that a comparative law look will make clear, there is an area of shared textual/linguistic legal canons with shared features about how language works: metacanons. Recognizing them in each system and across systems can inform how best to define textual canons, and to what ends American judges should use them in an era of increased use of legal canons but decreased Court-Congress dialogue. Watch the lecture today!