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Author: Robert Lowry Clinton (Robert Lowry Clinton)

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Textual Literalism and Legal Positivism: On Bostock and the Western Legal Tradition

For centuries, judges, lawyers, and legislators agreed that the object, end or purpose of the law—more precisely, the “mischief” that it was enacted to overcome—is crucial for determining its meaning. Any uncertainties in the meaning of the terms employed by the lawgiver must be resolved in accord with general custom and common usage at the time the law was enacted. Bostock is the most recent example of the Supreme Court violating this foundational principle of the rule of law.

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