Reading Remedially: What Does King v. Burwell Teach Us About Modern Statutory Interpretation, and Can It Help Solve the Problems of CERCLA § 113(h)?
How far should judges go in trying to effectuate the goals of a statute, especially in a world where Congress is increasingly partisan and unproductive? In King v. Burwell, the Roberts court essentially read four words out a statute in order to uphold what the Court saw as the overarching purpose of the law. This Note interrogates that tactic through a less politically controversial lens: what about employing such extreme judicial revision in the context of the 1986 Superfund Amendments and an obscure jurisdiction stripping provision? Just like the language in King, it seems as though Congress was not aware of what they were getting into with this provision, and it has had some arguably counterproductive effects that undermine the purpose of the law overall. Should a judge be allowed to read around this possible “mistake”? This Note concludes by stating that its premise is a “Rorshach test”—some will think the judiciary is well suited to such remedial reading, while others will fear the implications of more judges engaging in this type of interpretation.
J.D., expected 2017, Vanderbilt University Law School; B.A., 2010, Bard College.