Step 9.2 Consider 'cross-type' arguments

Cross-type arguments have 2 types: 'foundational' and 'relational'.334 Foundational arguments attack the legitimacy of your opponent's arguments.335 For example, you might argue that your opponent's policy argument lacks legitimacy because only the framers' original intent should count. Foundational arguments do not help very much, since: 'No tool of interpretation is a magic bullet';336 each theory of interpretation 'is relevant, yet none necessarily trumps the others'.337 So the following sections present only 'relational arguments'.

Whereas foundational arguments attack the legitimacy of your opponent's arguments, relational arguments attack the weight of your opponent's arguments.338 The following tables present the most common examples: weighing text against intent;339 precedent against policy;340 and text against policy.341

brainstorm BRAINSTORM

Thrust

Parry

Text against intent

‘My textual interpretation is better than my opponent’s interpretation based on intent because my interpretation is objective, certain, and predictable’342

‘My interpretation based on intent is better than my opponent’s blind reliance on the text because my interpretation gives effect to the will of the people who enacted the law’343

Precedent against policy

‘My interpretation based on precedent is better than my opponent’s interpretation based on loose ideas of “justice and fairness” because my interpretation is consistent and certain’344

‘My interpretation based on policy is better than my opponent’s mechanistic application of precedent, because consistency and certainty must sometimes give way to the weightier considerations of equity and fairness’345

Text against policy

‘My interpretation based on the very clear text is better than my opponent’s “flexible” interpretation based on policy, because the need for objectivity in this area outweighs the competing policy considerations’346

‘My interpretation based on policy is better than my opponent’s rigid interpretation based on text, because the particularly strong policy considerations in this case outweigh the desire for objectivity’347

Table 71: Cross-type arguments

334 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 144.

335 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 145.

336 Akhil Amar, 'Intratextualism' (1999) 112 Harvard Law Review 747, 801 quoted in William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 149.

337 William N Eskridge and Philip P Frickey, 'Statutory Interpretation as Practical Reasoning' (1990) 42 Stanford Law Review 321, 352 quoted in William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 149.

338 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 145.

339 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 159–64.

340 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 165–73.

341 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 175–83.

342 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 163.

343 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 163.

344 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 168.

345 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 168.

346 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 178.

347 William Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument (2002) 178.

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