When Statutory Construction Doctrines Collide

We are all familiar with the “plain meaning rule” of statutory construction.  Under that rule, when a statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, the courts should not go beyond its plain language by using outside sources to construe its meaning.  We are also all familiar with the concept of using legislative intent to assist with determining the meaning and interpretation of statutory language.  When using legislative intent to interpret a statue, the court’s goal is to construe the statute consistent with the intent of the Legislature that passed the statute.  Both of these doctrines have been discussed by the Nevada Supreme Court in dozens of cases dating as far back as 1865.  However, until recently, the Supreme Court had not specifically addressed the interplay between the use of legislative intent and the plain meaning rule.  In A.J. v. The Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 28 (June 1, 2017), the Court took that issue head on.

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The Writ – Appellate Briefs, Pages 10 & 11

July/August 2017, Vol.39, No. 7

 


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