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STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

Rule1. Apply the Law when it is CLEAR. Do


not Interpret or CONSTRUE.
Rule2 in StatCon is IBC, interpret before you
CONSTRUE. You CONSTRUE only when the
written law is not enough to give meaning
and EFFECT to the INTENT of the LAW.
The RULES are simplified in the middle of
this REVIEWER.
literal meaning or plain meaning rule
dura lex sed lex
doctrine of necessary implication
ejusdem generis
limitations of ejusdem generis
expressio unios est exclusio alterius
negative opposite doctrine
application of expressio unius rule
doctrine of casus omissus
doctrine of last antecedent
reddeddo singula singulis
stare decisis
res judicata
obiter dictum
A legislature is a kind of deliberative
assembly with the power to pass, amend,
and repeal laws. The law created by a
legislature is called legislation or statutory
law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures
usually have exclusive authority to raise or
lower taxes and adopt the budget and other
money bills. Legislatures are known by many
names, the most common being parliament
and congress, although these terms also
have more specific meanings.
Legislative intent
In law, the legislative intent of the
legislature in enacting legislation may
sometimes be considered by the judiciary
when interpreting the law (see judicial
interpretation). The judiciary may attempt to
assess legislative intent where legislation is
ambiguous, or does not appear to directly or
adequately address a particular issue, or
when there appears to have been a
legislative drafting error.

and purposes that the legislative body had


in mind when it passed the law:
the text of the bill as proposed to the
legislative body,
amendments to the bill that were
proposed and accepted or rejected,
the record of hearings on the topic,
legislative records or journals,
speeches and floor debate made prior to
the vote on the bill,
legislative subcommittee minutes, factual
findings, and/or reports,
other relevant statutes which can be used
to understand the definitions in the statute
on question,
other relevant statutes which indicate the
limits of the statute in question,
legislative files of the executive branch,
such as the governor or president,
case law prior to the statute or following it
which demonstrates the problems the
legislature was attempting to address with
the bill, or
constitutional determinations (i.e. "Would
Congress still have passed certain sections
of a statute 'had it known' about the
constitutional invalidity of the other portions
of the statute?").
legislative intent the reason for passing
the law
literal meaning or plain meaning
statute is clear, plain and
ambiguity, it must be given
meaning and applied without
interpretation.

rule. If the
free from
its literal
attempted

you get the meaning of the law from the


word per word written law. Literal meaning
or plain rule means INTERPRETATION of the
LAW. ALL WORDS in a statute should if
possible, be given effect.
Where a statute defines a word or phrase
employed therein, the word or phrase should
not, by CONSTRUCTION, be given a different
meaning. When the legislature defines a
word used in a statute, it does not usurp the
courts function to interpret the laws but it
merely LEGISLATES what should form part of
the law itself.

Sources of legislative intent

It is settled that in the absence of legislative


intent to define words, words and phrases
used in statute should be given their plain,
ordinary, and common usage meaning which
is supported by the maximgeneralia verba
sunt generaliter intelligenda or what is
generally
spoken
shall
be
generally
understood. It is also the same as GENERALI
DICTUM GENERALITIR EST INTERPRETANDUM
a general statement is understood in a
general sense.

Courts frequently look to the following


sources in attempting to determine the goals

WORDS MUST BE SUBSERVIENT TO THE


INTENT and not intent to words.

When a statute is clear and unambiguous,


the courts have said, repeatedly, that the
inquiry into legislative intent ends at that
point. It is only when a statute could be
interpreted in more than one fashion that
legislative intent must be inferred from
sources other than the actual text of the
statute.

Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere


debemus.
When
the
law does not
distinguish,

OTHERSor What is expressed puts an endto


that which is implied.
EXPRESSUM FACIT CESSARE TACITUM,

do not distinguish. dura lex sed lex or HOC


QUIDEM PERQUAM DURUM EST, SED ITA LEX
SCRIPTA EST.
The law maybe harsh, but is still the law. It is
exceedingly hard, but so the law is written.
doctrine of necessary implication this
doctrine states that what is implied in a
statute is as much a part thereof as that
which is expressed.
Every statute is understand by implication to
contain all such provision as may be
necessary to effectuate to its object and
purpose, or to make effective rights, powers,
privileges or jurisdiction which it grants,
including all such collateral and subsidiary
consequences as may be fairly and logically
inferred from its terms. The principle is
expressed in the maxim EX NECESSITATE
LEGIS or from the necessity of the law.
ejusdem generis .
THE SAME KIND OR SPECIE. This is to give
effect to both the particular and general
words, by treating the particular words as
indicating the class and the general words
as indicating all that is embraced in said
class,although not specifically named by the
particular words.
The rule of ejusdem generis is not of
universal application it should be used to
carry out, not to defeat the intent or purpose
of the law the rule must give way in favor of
the legislative intent
limitations of ejusdem generis
requisites:
1. Statue contains an enumeration of
particular and specific words, followed by a
general word or phrase
2. The particular and specific words
constitute a class or are of the same kind
3. The enumeration of the particular and
specific words is not exhaustiveor is not
merely by examples
4. There is no indication of legislative intent
to give general words or phrases a broader
meaning.
expressio unios est exclusio alterius.
the expression of 1
consequence IMPLIES

person, thing or
the EXCLUSIONof

where a Statute, by its terms, is expressly


limited to certain matters, it may not, by
interpretation
or
CONSTRUCTION,
be
extended to other matters.
These also follows that when a statute
specifically lists downs the exceptions, what
is not list down as an exception is ACCEPTED
express in the maxim EXCEPTIO FIRMAT
REGULAM IN CASIBUS NON EXCEPTIS, the
express exception,exemption or savings
excludes others.
application of expressio unius rule.
This auxiliary rule is used in CONSTRUCTION
of statutes granting powers, creating rights
and remedies, restricting common rights,
and imposing penalties and forfeitures, as
well as those statutes which are strictly
construed. It is only a tool and not a
mandatory rule used for ascertaining the
legislative intent. The rule must also yield to
legislative intent.
negative opposite doctrine, WHAT IS
EXPRESSED PUTS AN END TO WHAT IS
IMPLIED is known as negativeopposite
doctrine or argumentum a contrario.
doctrine of casus omissus (case of omission)
pro omisso habendus est. A person, object or
thing omitted from an enumeration must be
held to have been omitted intentionally. This
rule is not absolute if it can be shown that
the legislature did not intend to exclude the
person,
thing
or
object
from
the
enumeration. If such legislative intent is
clearly indicated, the COURT may supply the
omission if to do so will carry out the intent
of the legislature and will not do violence to
its language.
doctrine of last antecedent or AD PROXIMUM
ANTECEDENS FIAL RELATIO NISI IMPEDIATUR
SENTENTIA or relative words refer to the
nearest antecedents, unless the context
otherwise requires. QUALIFYING WORDS
restrictor modifyonly the words or phrases to
which they are immediately associated.
The last antecedent rule is a doctrine of
interpretation of a statute, by which
"Referential and qualifying phrases, where
no contrary intention appears, refer solely to
the last antecedent." The rule is typically
bound by "common sense" and is flexible
enough to avoid application that "would
involve an absurdity, do violence to the plain
intent of the language, or if the context for
other reason requires a deviation from the
rule."Evidence that a qualifying phrase is
supposed to apply to all antecedents instead

of only to the immediately preceding one


may be found in the fact that it is separated
from the antecedents by a comma."
reddendo
singula
singulis
when
two
descriptions
makes
it
impossible
to
reconcile, reconcile it to have a singular
meaning to settle the issue.
refers to each phrase or expression to its
appropriate object, or let each be put in its
proper place, that is, the words should be
taken DISTRIBUTIVELY to effect that each
word is to be applied to the subject to which
it appears by context most appropriate
related and to which it is most applicable.
REDDENDO
SINGULA
SINGULIS,
construction. By rendering each his own for
example, when two descriptions of property
are given together in one mass, both the
next of kin and the heir cannot take, unless
in cases where a construction can be made
reddendo singula singulis, that the next of
kin shall take the personal estate and the
heir at law the real estate. 14 Ves. 490. Vide
11 East,, 513, n. Bac. Ab. Conditions, L.
Stare Decisis [Latin, Let the decision stand.]
The policy of courts to abide by or adhere to
principles established by decisions in earlier
cases. (stahray duhseesis) n. Latin for "to
stand by a decision," the doctrine that a trial
court is bound by appellate court decisions
(precedents) on a legal question which is
raised in the lower court. Reliance on such
precedents is required of trial courts until
such time as an appellate court changes the
rule, for the trial court cannot ignore the
precedent (even when the trial judge
believes it is "bad law")
Res Judicata [Latin, A thing adjudged.] A rule
that a final judgment on the merits by a
court having jurisdiction is conclusive
between the parties to a suit as to all
matters that were litigated or that could
have been litigated in that suit.
The party asserting res judicata, having
introduced a final judgment on the merits,
must then show that the decision in the first
lawsuit was conclusive as to the matters in
the second suit. For example, assume that
the plaintiff in the first lawsuit asserted that
she was injured in an auto accident. She
sues the driver of the other auto under a
theory of Negligence. A jury returns a verdict
that finds that the defendant was not
negligent. The injured driver then files a
second lawsuit alleging additional facts that
would help her prove that the other driver
was negligent. A court would dismiss the
second lawsuit under res judicata because
the second lawsuit is based on the same
Cause of Action (negligence) and the same
injury claim.

Obiter Dictum[Latin, By the way.] Words of


an opinion entirely unnecessary for the
decision of the case. A remark made or
opinion expressed by a judge in a decision
upon a cause, "by the way", that is,
incidentally or collaterally, and not directly
upon the question before the court or upon a
point not necessarily involved in the
determination of the cause, or introduced by
way of illustration, or analogy or argument.
Such are not binding as precedent.
AEQUITAS NUNQUAM CONTRAVENIT LEGIS .
EQUITY never acts in contravention of the
law. The reason of the Law is the Life of the
Law or RATIO LEGIS ET ANIMA.
Interpretation and CONSTRUCTION of
Statutes must be done to avoid evil and
injustice.
EA
EST
ACCIPIENDA
INTERPRETATIO QUAE VITIO CARET.
Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat
quam pereat, the interpretation that will give
the thing the EFFICACY is to be adopted. Law
must receive sensible interpretation to
promote the ends for which they are
enacted. They should be given practical
CONSTRUCTION that will give LIFE to them,
IF IT CAN BE DONE without doing VIOLENCE
to reason.
UT RES MAGIS VALEAT QUAM PEREAT, A
STATUTE must be interpreted to give it
efficient operation and effect as a whole
avoiding the nullification of provisions. IT is
so that a legal provision must not be so
construed as to be a useless SURPLUSAGE.
Accordingly, in case of Doubt or obscurity,
that construction should make the statute
fully operative and effective. IT IS
PRESUMED THAT THE LEGISLATURE DID NOT
DO A VAIN THING IN THE ENACTMENT OF
THE STATUTE. In PARE MATERIA, of the same
person or thing.
INTERPRETARE ET CONCORDARE LEGES
LEGIBUS EST OPTIMUS INTERPRETANDI
MODUS, or every statute must be so
CONSTRUED and harmonized with other
statutes as to form a uniform system of
Jurisprudence. ALL laws are presumed to be
consistent with each other.
DISTINGUE TEMPORA ET CONCORDABIS JURA
, distinguish times and you will harmonize
laws.
IN enacting a STATUTE, the legislature is
presumed to have been aware, and taken
into account, PRIOR LAWS on the subject of
legislation. Thus, conflict on same subject is
not intended and if such occur, Court must
construe, through reconciliation to give
effect to the statute. If it is impossible to
reconcile and harmonize, one statute has to
give way to the other. The latest statute

shall prevail being the latest expression of


the legislative WILL.
A GENERAL LAW and a SPECIAL LAW are in
pare materia.The fact that one is general
and the other special creates a presumption
that the special act is to be considered as
remaining an exception of the General Act.
One as a General Law of the Land, the other
as a LAW for a Particular case. This shall
apply all the time regardless of which law
was enacted first.
CONTEMPORANEOUS CONSTRUCTIONS or
CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTIONS are made
by the EXECUTIVE Departments.
First type of Contemporary Constructions are
the interpretations of the Executive on
Statutes, for them to implement it, they
must understand it and interpret it if the
language of the law is AMBIGUOUS. The
executive makes RULES or IRRs for this
statutes, or ADMINISTRATIVE RULES and
PROCEDURES. These IRRs or RULES issued
by the executive to execute the Statute are
CONTEMPORARY Construction.
Second Type of Contemporary Constructions
are the INTERPRETATIONS of the JUSTICE
Secretary in carrying out PENAL LAWS and
all OTHER LAWS, under her are the
PROSECUTORS, FISCALS of the Philippine
Republic. The issuances on how laws are to
be
prosecuted
are
CONTEMPORARY
CONSTRUCTION of the Justice Secretary.
The third type are the DECISIONS OF THE
ADMINISTRATIVE BODIES handling disputes
in
a
QUASIJUDICIAL
MANNER.
These
decisions
are
based
on
their
UNDERSTANDING of Statutes passed by
congress, laws that are enforced. These are
CONTEMPORARY
INTERPRETATIONS
and
Constructions.

INCIDENTAL POWERS OF THE POWERS,


RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. THE GREATER
POWER IMPLIES INCIDENTAL LESSER POWER.
This is so because the greater includes the
lesser as expressed in the maxim, in eo
quod plus sit, simper inest et minus.THERE
SHALL BE NO CONSTRUCTION TO GIVE
EFFECT TO A LAW THAT SHALL MAKE IT
MORE
POWERFUL
THAN
WHAT
WAS
INTENDED BY THE LAW.
Every statute is understood by IMPLICATION,
to contain such provisions as maybe
necessary to EFFECTUATE its object and
purpose, or to make effective Rights,
powers, privileges or JURISDICTION which it
grants, including all such COLLATERAL and
subsidiary consequences as may be fairly
and LOGICALLY inferred from its TERMS, as
expressed in the maxim, Ex necessitate legis
or from the NECESSITY of the LAW. Doctrine
of Necessary Implication.
WHAT CANNOT BE DONE DIRECTLY CANNOT
BE DONE INDIRECTLY. QUANDO ALIQUID
PROHIBETUR EX DIRECTO, PROHIBETUR ET
PER OBLIQUUM.
WHAT IS AUTOLIMITATION?
Doctrine of AutolimitationIt is the doctrine
where the Philippines adheres to principles
of international law as a limitation to the
exercise of its sovereignty.
Functus officio an officer or agency whose
mandate has expired either because of the
arrival of an expiry date or because an
agency has accomplished the purpose for
which it was created. Function is mere
FORMALITY.
Sin perjuico judgments are judgment, w/o
any stated facts in support of the conclusion.
RULES in STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION

THESE CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTIONS


STATUTES HAPPEN, WHEN THERE ARENO
ACTUAL CONTROVERSIES QUESTIONING THE
VALIDITY OF STATUTES IN THE SUPREME
COURT, therefore,NO STARE DECISIS HAVE
YET BEEN MADE. IF THERE ARE JUDICIAL
INTERPRETATIONS AND CONSTRUCTIONS,
THEN THE JUDICIAL CONSTRUCTIONS ARE
governing and are THE ONES followed BY
THE
EXECUTIVE
DEPARTMENTS
once
promulgated by the Supreme Court.
CONGRESS,
NOT
BEING
THE
CONSTITUTIONALLY POWER TO INTERPRET
AND CONSTRUE THE LAWS THEY MAKE, MAY
ALSO DO CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION
IN FOLLOWING STATUTES THAT THEY
THEMSELVES ARE BOUND TO FOLLOW.
WITH THE GRANT OF POWERS, RIGHTS,
PRIVILEGES IS ALSO THE RIGHT TO

The solemn decisions of the judges upon a


statute become part of the statute and the
security of men's lives and property, require
that they should be adhered to:for
precedents serve to regulate our conduct
and there is more danger to be apprehended
from uncertainty, than from any exposition
because, when the rule is settled, men know
how to conform to it but, when all is
uncertain, they are left in the dark, and
constantly liable to error for the same
offence which, at one time, was thought
entitled to clergy, at another, may be
deemed capital and thus the life or death
of the citizen will be made to depend, not
upon a fixt rule, but upon the opinion of the
judge, who may happen to try him, than
which a more miserable state of things
cannot be conceived.

1. Presumption of Correctness
a. "When testing the constitutional validity
of statutes, courts shall presume the statute
to be valid." Consequently, the burden to
show the constitutional defect is on the
challenger. "Every act of the legislature is
presumed to be constitutional, and the
Constitution is to be given a liberal
construction so as to sustain the enactment
in question, if practicable." "When the
constitutionality of an act is challenged, a
heavy burden of proof is thrust upon the
party making the challenge. All laws are
presumed to be constitutional and this
presumption is one of the strongest known
to the law.
b. "Another rule of statutory construction
requires the presumption that, in enacting
statutes, the CONGRESS has full knowledge
of existing law and interpretations thereof .
Although the repeal of statutes by
implication is not favored, if two statutes are
in pari materia, then to the extent that their
provisions are irreconcilably inconsistent and
repugnant, the latter enactment repeals or
amends the earlier enacted statute.
c. "The legislature is presumed to know the
law when enacting legislation.
d. When amendments are enacted soon
after controversies arise "as to the
interpretation of the original act, it is logical
to regard the amendment as a legislative
interpretation of the original act, a formal
changerebutting
the
presumption
of
substantial change.
e. " We "assume that the legislature chose,
with care, the words it used when it enacted
the relevant statute."
f. when current and prior versions of a
statute are at issue, there is a presumption
that the CONGRESS, in amending a statute,
intended to effect a substantive change in
the law. "Further, we assume that
CONGRESS amendments to a statute are
purposeful, rather than unnecessary.
g. "The Supreme Court repeatedly has
affirmed that it is a presumption of statutory
construction that, where both general and
specific statutes appear to address a matter,
CONGRESS intends the specific statute to
control the subject
h. "When a statute begins with the phrase
"notwithstanding any other provision of law,"
it is presumed that CONGRESS intended to
override any potential conflicts with earlier
legislation.
i. "The construction of statutes by agencies
charged with administration of those

statutes is entitled to great weight.A


decision of an agency specified to execute
the law made by CONGRESS carries great
weight and is entitled to deference unless it
is proven the agency erred. The grant of
regulatory authority extends only to duties
or powers conferred by law. As such,
"regulations, promulgated pursuant to
definitive statutory authority, have the force
and effect of law. Moreover, those
regulations which "clearly and explicitly
mirror" statutory authority are likeliest to be
sustained. Any regulation of the Department
must be reasonably grounded in an
identifiable
and
definitive
statutory
foundation. "Generally, the court accords
substantial deference to an agency's
interpretations of its own regulations.
Provided the interpretation "does not violate
the Constitution, it must be given
'controlling weight unless it is plainly
erroneous
or
inconsistent
with
the
regulation.
j. we will overturn COURTs decision only if it
can be fairly characterized as "arbitrary or
capricious" and thus a "clear abuse of
delegated discretion." On the other hand, an
"agency does not possess specialized
competence over the interpretation of a
statute merely because it addresses topics
within the agency's delegable authority. Pure
statutory construction, a matter within the
"core competency of the judiciary," . "This
axiom stems from basic principles of
separation of powers. It is emphatically the
province and duty of the JUDICIAL
DEPARTMENT to say what the law is. It
necessarily follows that the a priori question
whether the statute delegates or withholds
discretion is itself a question of statutory
interpretation, one implicating our duty of de
novo review."
k. "The circuit court nonetheless deferred to
the Technical Review Board's reasoning,
correctly noting that courts give "great
deference" to an agency's interpretation of
its own regulations. This deference stems
from Code 2.24027, which requires that
reviewing courts "take due account" of the
"experience and specialized competence of
the agency" promulgating the regulation.
Even so, "deference is not abdication, and it
requires us to accept only those agency
interpretations that are reasonable in light of
the principles of construction courts
normally employ. No matter how one
calibrates
judicial
deference,
the
administrative
power
to
interpret
a
regulationdoes not include the power to
rewrite it. When a regulation is "not
ambiguous," judicial deference "to the
agency's position would be to permit the
agency, under the guise of interpreting a
regulation, to create de facto a new
regulation." Though agencies may be

tempted to adjudicate their way around


unwanted regulations, such overreaching
undermines the notice and public hearing
procedures of the rulemaking process
thereby putting in jeopardy the "enhanced
political accountability of agency policy
decisions adopted through the rulemaking
process" and the democratic virtue of
allowing "all potentially affected members of
the public an opportunity to participate in
the process of determining the rules that
affect them.
l. "However, whenever an "agency's
statutory interpretation conflicts with the
language of the statute or when the
interpretation has not been consistently and
regularly applied, the usual deference
accorded to an agency's interpretation
should be withheld.
m. When Congress enacts an imprecise
statute
that
it
commits
to
the
implementation of an executive agency, it
has no control over that implementation
(except, of course, through further, more
precise, legislation).The legislative and
executive functions are not combined. But
when an agency promulgates an imprecise
rule, it leaves to itself the implementation of
that rule, and thus the initial determination
of the rule's meaning. And though the
adoption of a rule is an exercise of the
executive rather than the legislative power,
a properly adopted rule has fully the effect
of law. It seems contrary to fundamental
principles of separation of powers to permit
the person who promulgates a law to
interpret it as well. Deferring to an agency's
interpretation of a statute does not
encourage Congress, out of a desire to
expand its power, to enact vague statutes
the vagueness effectively cedes power to
the Executive. By contrast, deferring to an
agency's interpretation of its own rule
encourages the agency to enact vague rules
which give it the power, in future
adjudications, to do what it pleases.
Construed Against the State/ Vagueness
a. "It is an ancient maxim of the law that all
such statutes must be construed strictly
against the state and favorably to the liberty
of the citizen. The maxim is founded on the
tenderness of the law for the rights of
individuals and on the plain principle that
the power of punishment is vested in the
legislature
and
not
in
the
judicial
department. No man incurs a penalty unless
the act which subjects him to it is clearly
within the spirit and letter of the statute
which imposes such penalty. There can be
no constructive offenses, and before a man
can be punished his case must be plainly
and unmistakably within the statute. If these
principals are violated, the fate of the

accused is determined by the arbitrary


discretion of the judges and not by the
express authority of the law."
b. "When a statute is penal in nature, it
"must be strictly construed against the
STATE and in favor of an accused.
c. "While it is true that penal statutes must
be strictly construed against the STATE in
criminal cases, "we will not apply 'an
unreasonably restrictive interpretation of the
statute' that would subvert the legislative
intent expressed therein.
d. "In determining whether a legislative
enactment is unconstitutionally vague, the
Supreme Court has considered whether the
words used have a wellsettled . . . meaning .
. . (citing dictionary to determine "generally
understood" meaning for adjective in
ordinance). "A penal statute is void for
vagueness if it both fails to give a person of
ordinary intelligence
notice
that her
contemplated conduct is forbidden by the
statute
and
encourages
selective
prosecution
Statutory Exceptions, Negative Element v.
Affirmative Defense
1) "When construing PENAL STATUTES which
contain
qualifications,
exceptions
or
exemptions to their application, the limiting
language may be viewed as a negative
element
of
the
offense
which
the
prosecution must disprove. Alternately, the
court may determine that the exemption is a
statutory defense, which the accused can
assert to defeat the prima facie case of the
prosecution. In determining whether specific
limiting language is an element of the
offense or a statutory defense, a court
should look both to the intent of the statute
as a whole and the ability of the respective
parties to assert the existence or absence of
the
underlying
facts
sustaining
the
applicability
of
the
limitation.
When
determining whether the limiting language is
a negative element or a statutory defense,
this Court has identified four factors to be
considered: 'the wording of the exception
and its role in relation to the other words in
the statute whether in light of the situation
prompting legislative action, the exception is
essential to complete the general prohibition
intended whether the exception makes an
excuse or justification for what would
otherwise be criminal conduct, i.e., sets forth
an affirmative defense and whether the
matter is peculiarly within the knowledge of
the defendant.' An application of these
factors to the present case demonstrates
that the phrase "except as provided by law,"
as used in Code 29.1553, establishes a
statutory defense as opposed to a negative
element

2) "In order to resolve whether there is a due


process violation in this case, we first must
address the threshold issue of whether the
absence of a valid prescription is an
affirmative defense or a negative element of
the offense. If it is the latter, the burden of
proof is on the STATE, and it cannot be
shifted to the accused...When construing
penal statutes which contain qualifications,
exceptions
or
exemptions
to
their
application, the limiting language may be
viewed as a negative element of the offense
which the prosecution must disprove.
Alternately, the court may determine that
the exemption is a statutory defense, which
the accused can assert to defeat the prima
facie case of the prosecution. The ACCUSED
BEARS THE BURDEN OF PRODUCING
EVIDENCE
OF
THE
NEGATION
of
circumstances
sufficient
to
raise
a
reasonable doubt of his guilt. In determining
whether specific limiting language is an
element of the offense or a statutory
defense, a court should look both to the
intent of the statute as a whole and the
ability of the respective parties to assert the
existence or absence of the underlying facts
sustaining the applicability of the limitation.
Accordingly, we should consider the wording
of the exception and its role in relation to the
other words in the statute whether in light
of the situation prompting legislative action,
the exception is essential to complete the
general prohibition intended whether the
exception makes an excuse or justification
for what would otherwise be criminal
conduct, i.e., sets forth an affirmative
defense and whether the matter is
peculiarly within the knowledge of the
defendant. (It is undoubtedly the general
rule that the state must prove all the
essential facts entering into the description
of the offense. But it has been held in many
cases that when a negation of a fact lies
peculiarly within the knowledge of the
defendant it is incumbent on him to
establish that fact).
We next observe that the "valid prescription"
exemption of Code 18.2250 relates to a
fact that would be solely within the
knowledge of the accused. If we accept
appellant's contention that the STATE must
prove appellant had no valid prescription,
the offense would be virtually unprovable.
Under appellant's theory, to obtain a
conviction under the facts of this case, the
STATE would be required to prove that no
medical professional, wherever located, in
this Commonwealth or elsewhere, had
prescribed the drug to appellant. This would
involve a nationwide search of chain
drugstores,
as
well
as
independent
pharmacies, hospitals, prison infirmaries,
etc. Appellant, at oral argument, conceded
that such an undertaking would most likely

be impossible. CONGRESS clearly did not


intend such a result, nor would they enact
such an impotent statute
Constitutional Construction
1) "The rights enumerated in this Bill of
Rights shall not be construed to limit other
rights of the people not therein expressed.
2)The office and purpose of the constitution
is to shape and fix the limits of
governmental activity. It thus proclaims,
safeguards and preserves in basic form the
preexisting laws, rights, mores, habits, and
modes of thought and life of the people as
developed under the common law and as
existing at the time of its adoption to the
extent and therein statedThe purpose and
object sought to be attained by the framers
of the constitution is to be looked for, and
the will and intent of the people who ratified
it is to be made effective. As we have stated,
CONGRESS may enact any law or take any
action not prohibited by express terms, or
by
necessary
implications
by
the
Constitution.
3)A fundamental right is one EXPLICITLY OR
IMPLICITLY implied guaranteed by the
constitution
4) "It is an "established principle of
constitutional law that a court will not rule
upon the constitutionality of a statute unless
such a determination is absolutely necessary
to decide the merits of the case. A statute
will be construed to avoid a constitutional
question whenever this is possible.
5) "The construction of a constitutional
provision by CONGRESS (note it is congress
construing, not the supreme court,that is
why it is CALLED CONTEMPORANEOUS
CONSTRUCTION)is entitled to consideration,
and if the construction is contemporaneous
with adoption of the constitutional provision,
it is entitled to great weight. In addition,
Long acquiescence in such an announced
construction so strengthens it that it should
not be changed unless plainly wrong.
6) Constitutional provisions are EITHER SELFEXECUTING OR MANDATORY.
A self executing provision does not require
enabling legislation for its enforcement.
A mandatory provision declares or imposes a
duty or requirementthat must be followed.
A Directory provision sets forth procedures
or " confers discretion on the legislature" for
its implementation.
7) "We review arguments regarding the
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF A STATUTE DE

NOVO. When the constitutionality of a


statute is challenged, we are guided by the
principle that all acts of CONGRESS are
presumed to be constitutional. Where a
statute is constitutional as applied to a
litigant, the litigant has no standing to
challenge the statute on the ground that it
may be unconstitutional on its face, that is,
as applied to a third person in a hypothetical
situation. As a general rule, "a party has
standing to challenge the constitutionality of
a statuteonly insofar as it has an adverse
impact on his own rights
8) "However, when a court, in determining
the constitutionality of a statute, departs
from the express limitations of the
Constitution and relies instead on implied
constitutional restrictions, the legislative
usurpation must be very clear and palpable
to justify the courts holding that an
enactment is unconstitutional.
9)"This Courtsjurisprudence with respect to
Article IV, Section 12 is well established.
The fact that many things of a diverse
nature are authorized or required to be done
in the body of the act, though not expressed
in its title is not objectionable, if what is
authorized by the act is germane to the
object expressed in the title, or has a
legitimate and natural association therewith,
or is congruous therewith, the title is
sufficient. [I]f there is doubt as to the
sufficiency of the title, the doubt must be
resolved in favor of itssufficiency, as courts
will not declare an act of the legislature
unconstitutional unless it is plainly so. The
analysis of a particular act must necessarily
stand on its own, and we must look to
both the body and to the title of the act
under scrutiny to determine whether the act
violates the Constitution.
10) "As a general rule, where a statute is
constitutional as applied to a litigant, the
litigant has no standing to challenge the
statute on the ground that it may be
unconstitutional on its face, that is, as
applied to a third person in a hypothetical
situation." We have said that classification
ordinarily will be upheld "if any state of facts
can be reasonably conceived that would
support it." But where the statute creates a
"suspect classification" (e.g. race, sex, or
religion) or where it affects a fundamental
constitutional right, the presumption of
constitutionality fades, and the "strict
scrutiny" test, rather than the more relaxed
"rational relationship" test applies.
11) "Statutory interpretation presents a pure
question of law and is accordingly subject to
de novo review by this Court. de novois a
Latin
expression
meaning
"from
the
beginning," "afresh," "anew," "beginning
again."

Retroactive Enactment of Laws


1) "Accordingly, when a statute is amended
while an action is pending, the rights of the
parties are to be deemed in accordance with
the law in effect when the action is begun,
unless the amended statute shows a clear
intention to vary such rights. (Our analysis is
guided by the fundamental principles of
statutory construction that retroactive laws
are not favored, and that a statute is always
construed to operate prospectively unless a
contrary legislative intent is manifest.) New
laws will apply only to future cases unless
there is something in the very nature of the
case, or in the language of the new
provision, which shows that the new law was
intended to have a retrospective effect.
Further, every reasonable doubt is resolved
against a retroactive operation of a statute,
and words of a statute ought not to have a
retrospective operation unless they are so
clear, strong and imperative that no other
meaning can be annexed to them.
Retroactive effect will be given to a statute
only when legislative intent that a statute be
so applied is stated in clear, explicit, and
unequivocal terms.
Common Law
1) In construing statutes, the statutory
definition must prevail over the common law
definition
2) CONGRESS is presumed to have known
and to have had the common law in mind in
the enactment of a statute. The statute must
therefore be read along with the provisions
of the common law, and the latter will be
read into the statute unless it clearly
appears from express language or by
necessary implication that the purpose of
the statute was to change the common law.
3) "We also apply the established principle
that a statutory provision will not be held to
change the common law unless the
legislative intent to do so is plainly
manifested. Therefore, a statutory change in
the common law will be recognized only in
that which is expressly stated in the words of
the statute or is necessarily implied by its
language.
4) " A statutory provision will not be held to
change the common law unless the
legislative intent to do so is plainly
manifested. "Statutes in derogation of the
common law are to be strictly construed and
not to be enlarged in their operation by
construction beyond their express terms.
Accordingly, "[a] statutory change in the
common law is limited to that which is
expressly stated in the statute or necessarily
implied by its language because there is a

presumption that no change was intended.


"When an enactment does not encompass
the entire subject covered by the common
law, it abrogates the commonlaw rule only
to the extent that its terms are directly and
irreconcilably opposed to the rule
Previous Construction of a Statute
1) "Where a statute has been construed by
the courts, and is then re-enacted by the
legislature, the construction given to it is
presumed to be sanctioned by the
legislature,
and
thenceforth
becomes
obligatory upon the courts." Hence, when
the court finds the old construction should
be modified, it cannot anymore, since the
court is BOUND by its old construction
because such statute was RE-Enacted.
2) "The term "battery" possesses "a long
history of definition by" the courts, and
therefore,
it
"carries
its
historical
construction" when used by CONGRESS in a
statute.
3) "We have said that when judicial
interpretations have settled the meaning of
an existing statutory provision, repetition of
the same language in a new statute
indicates, as a general matter, the intent to
incorporate its judicial interpretations as
well.
(STARE
DECIS
becomes
the
interpretation and construction of a law or
STATUTE that is ambiguous even if it was
applied to a private case)
New Law New Remedy
4) "It is an established principle of statutory
interpretation that "a statute prescribing a
new remedy for an existing right should
never be construed to abolish a preexisting
remedy in the absence of express words or
necessary implication. Further, " 'when a
statute gives a new remedy, and contains no
negative, express or implied, of the old
remedy, the new one provided by it is
cumulative, and the party may elect
between the two.'
Two Statutes Pertaining to the Same Subject
1) "It is well accepted that statutes relating
to the same subject should not be read in
isolation.
Such
statutes
should
be
considered in pari materia. Moreover,
statutes dealing with the same subject
matter should be construed together to
achieve a harmonious result, resolving
conflicts to give effect to legislative intent.
An
accepted
principle
of
statutory
construction is that, when it is not clear
which of two statutes applies, the more
specific statute prevails over the more
general. Also, when statutes provide
different procedures on the same subject

matter, "the general must give way to the


specific.
"As a preliminary matter applicable to all of
your questions and in accord with the rule of
statutory construction in pari materia,
statutory provisions are not to be considered
as isolated fragments of law. Such provisions
are to be considered as a whole, or as parts
of a greater connected, homogeneous
system of laws, or a single and complete
statutory compilation.
Statutes in pari materia are considered as if
they constituted but one act, so that
sections of one act may be considered as
though they were parts of the other act.
As a general rule, where legislation dealing
with a particular subject consists of a system
of related general provisions indicative of a
settled policy, new enactments of a
fragmentary nature on that subject are to be
taken as intended to fit into the existing
system and to be carried into effect
conformably to it, and they should be so
construed as to harmonize the general tenor
or purport of the system and make the
scheme consistent in all its parts and
uniform in its operation, unless a different
purpose is shown plainly or with irresistible
clearness. It will be assumed or presumed, in
the absence of words specifically indicating
the contrary, that the legislature did not
intend to innovate on, unsettle, disregard,
alter or violate a general statute or system
of statutory provisions the entire subject
matter of which is not directly or necessarily
involved in the act (noting that in absence of
words to contrary, legislature did not intend
to alter or repeal general statute or system).
3) Closely related statutes must be read as
being consistent with one another. Two
statutes which are closely interrelated must
be read and construed together and effect
given to all of their provisions. Statutes
should be construed, if possible, so as to
harmonize, and force and effect should be
given the provisions of each.
4) The primary objective of statutory
construction is to ascertain and give effect
to legislative intent. 'In interpreting statutes,
"courts should give the fullest possible effect
to the legislative intent embodied in the
entire statutory enactment. Potentially
conflicting statutes should be harmonized to
give force and effect to each.
5) City and municipal ordinances must be
consistent with the laws of the Constitution.
Thus, if a statute and a local ordinance both
can be given effect, courts must harmonize
them and apply them together.
The Meaning of Words

1) In the absence of a contrary definition,


the words in a statute are presumed to have
their usual and ordinary meaning.

provide a statutory definition we may look to


the dictionary definition to determine
legislative intent

3) A fundamental rule of statutory


construction requires that every part of a
statute be presumed to have some effect,
and not be treated as meaningless unless
absolutely necessary. "We must assume that
the legislature did not intend to do a vain
and useless thing. "It is a well established
rule of construction that a statute ought to
be interpreted in such a manner that it may
have effect, and not found to be vain and
elusive. "A word or clause contained in a
statute may only be rejected as surplusage if
it "appears to have been inserted through
inadvertence or mistake, and which is
incapable of any sensible meaning," or is
otherwise repugnant to the rest of the
statute.

10) "In drafting the statute, the legislature


separated the two prohibitions with a
commafollowed by the disjunctive word
"nor."We have noted that, pursuant to the
rules of grammar, "phrases separated by a
comma and [a] disjunctive . . . are
independent. The disjunctive serves to
connect the two parts of the sentence but
also
to
keep
them
separate
and
independent.

4) "We will not construe a statute by singling


out a particular term or phrase, but will
construe the words and terms at issue in the
context of the other language used in the
statute.
5) While in the construction of statutes the
constant endeavor of the courts is to
ascertain and give effect to the intention of
the legislature, that intention must be
gathered from the words used, unless a
literal construction would involve a manifest
absurdity. "The Court has stated the related
principle that "the plain, obvious, and
rational meaning of a statute is always to be
preferred to any curious, narrow, or strained
construction." Statutes should not be
interpreted in ways that produce absurd or
irrational consequences.
6) "A statute must be construed with
reference to its subject matter, the object
sought to be attained, and the legislative
purpose in enacting it the provisions should
receive a construction that will render it
harmonious with that purpose rather than
one which will defeat it.
7)[i]f the language of a statute is plain and
unambiguous, and its meaning perfectly
clear and definite, effect must be given to it.
It is unnecessary to resort to any rules of
statutory construction when the language of
a statute is unambiguous. In those
situations, the statute's plain meaning and
intent govern. "Language is ambiguous if it
admits of being understood in more than
one way, refers to two or more things
simultaneously, is difficult to comprehend, is
of doubtful import, or lacks clearness and
definiteness.
9) "Black's Law Dictionary 1586 (8th ed.
2004) defines "valid"as "Legally suf icient
binding."(noting that if the STATUTE does not

12) "The word [willful] often denotes an act


which is intentional, or knowing, or
voluntary, as distinguished from accidental.
But when used in a criminal statute it
generally means an act done with a bad
purpose
without
justifiable
excuse
stubbornly, obstinately, perversely[.] The
word is also employed to characterize a
thing done without ground for believing it is
lawful. The term "willful act" imports
knowledge and consciousness that injury will
result from the act done. The act done must
be intended or it must involve a reckless
disregard for the rights of another and will
probably result in an injury. [T]he term
"gross, wanton, and culpable" describes
conduct.
The
word
"gross"
means
"aggravated or increased negligence" while
the word "culpable" means "deserving of
blame or censure." 'Gross negligence' is
culpable or criminal when accompanied by
acts of commission or omission of a wanton
or willful nature, showing a reckless or
indifferent disregard of the rights of others,
under circumstances reasonably calculated
to produce injury, or which make it not
improbable that injury will be occasioned,
and the offender knows, or is charged with
the knowledge of, the probable result of his
acts
13) "But, courts are not permitted to add
language to a statute nor are they permitted
to accomplish the same result by judicial
interpretation." Rather, when the language
of a statute is unambiguous, courts are
bound by the plain meaning of that
language and may not assign a construction
that amounts to holding that the General
Assembly did not mean what it actually has
stated.
14) "It is equally well established, however,
that if the language of a statute is clear and
unambiguous, a regulatory interpretation by
the Department that is in conflict with the
plain language of the statute cannot be
sustained.
15) "Under the rule of ejusdem generis,
when a particular class of persons or things
is enumerated in a statute and general

words follow, the general words are to be


restricted in their meaning to a sense
analogous to the less general, particular
words. Likewise, according to the maxim
noscitur a sociis (associated words) when
general and specific words are grouped, the
general words are limited by the specific and
will be construed to embrace only objects
similar in nature to those things identified by
the specific words.
16) If a statute expressly excepts a class
which would otherwise fall within its terms,
the exception negates the idea that any
other class is to be excepted.
17) One such rule, sometimes referred to as
the last antecedent doctrine, is particularly
applicable here and can be summarized as
follows: Referential and qualifying words and
phrases, where no contrary intention
appears, refer solely to the last antecedent.
The last antecedent is 'the last word, phrase,
or clause that can be made an antecedent
without impairing the meaning of the
sentence.' Thus a proviso usually is
construed to apply to the provision or clause
immediately preceding it. (explaining and
applying "the grammatical 'rule of the last
antecedent,' according to which a limiting
clause or phrase . . . should ordinarily be
read as modifying only the noun or phrase
that it immediately follows . . . .") (noting
that construction of a statute according to
the last antecedent rule is "quite sensible as
a matter of grammar
19) "An erroneous interpretation of a statute
by those charged with its enforcement
cannot be permitted to override [the
statute's] clear meaning. Amendments of
statutes can only be made by the legislature
and not by the courts or administrative
officers charged with their enforcement
20) "But principles of statutory construction
are not so rigid. Although we presume that
the same term has the same meaning when
it occurs here and there in a single statute,
the Court of Appeals mischaracterized that
presumption as effectively irrebuttable.
We also understand that [m]ost words have
different
shades
of
meaning
and
consequently may be variously construed,
not only when they occur in different
statutes, but when used more than once in
the same statute or even in the same
section. Thus, the natural presumption
that identical words used in different parts of
the same act are intended to have the same
meaning is not rigid and readily yields
whenever there is such variation in the
connection in which the words are used as
reasonably to warrant the conclusion that
they were employed in different parts of the
act with different intent. Ibid. A given term
in the same statute may take on distinct

characters from association with distinct


statutory objects calling for different
implementation strategies." Ibid. (Latin,
short for ibidem, meaning "the same place")
is the term used to provide an endnote or
footnote citation orreference for a source
that was cited in the preceding endnote or
footnote. It is similar in meaning to idem
(meaning
something
that
has
been
mentioned
previously
the
same),
abbreviated Id., which is commonly used in
legal citation. [1] To find the ibid.source, one
must look at the reference preceding it.
21) "Generally, phrases separated by a
comma and the disjunctive "or," are
independent.(finding that, the word "or"
connects two parts of a sentence, "'but
disconnect[s] their meaning'") (noting
disjunctive results in alternatives, which
must be treated separately) (finding that
limiting phrase in statute is independent of
and does not modify two earlier phrases
because the limiting phrase is separated
from the first two by a comma and the
disjunctive "or") (interpreting the use of a
comma and the disjunctive "or" as implying
two separate and independent phrases in a
Virginia statute authorizing payment of
dividends by corporation "out of net
earnings, or out of its net assets in excess of
its capital"). Accordingly, the phrase, "made
by the Defendant to any law enforcement
officer," is independent of and does not
modify the phrase, "[a]ny written or
recorded statement or confessions."
The Terms May/Shall
1) The term "may,"as used in a statute,
should be given its ordinary meaning
intended by the CONGRESS permission,
importing discretion.
2) It is also true, however, that the Supreme
Court has held that the word "may," while
ordinarily importing permission, will be
construed to be mandatorywhen it is
necessary
to
accomplishthe
manifest
purpose of the legislature.
3) The use of the word "shall" in a statute
generally impliesthat its terms are intended
to be mandatory, rather than permissive or
directive.
4) "[T]he use of shall, in a statute requiring
action by a public official,is directory andnot
mandatoryunless the statute manifests a
contrary intent."14 "A statute directing the
mode of proceeding by public officers is to
be deemed directory, and a precise
compliance is not to be deemed essential to
the validity of the proceedings, unless so
declared by statute.
The Term Aggrieved Locus Standi

1) ""The term 'aggrieved' has a settled


meaning when it becomes necessary to
determine who is a proper party to seek
court relief from an adverse decision. In
order for a petitioner to be 'aggrieved,' it
must affirmatively appear that such person
had some direct interest in the subject
matter of the proceeding that he seeks to
attack. . . . The petitioner 'must show that he
has an immediate, pecuniary and substantial
interest in the litigation, and not a remote or
indirect interest.' . . . Thus, it is not sufficient
that the sole interest of the petitioner is to
advance some perceived public right or to
redress someanticipated public injury when
the only wrong he has suffered is in common
with other persons similarly situated. The
word 'aggrieved' in a statute contemplates a
substantial grievance and means a denial of
some personal or property right, legal or
equitable, or imposition of a burden or
obligation upon the petitioner different from
that suffered by the public generally.
Mens Rea/ Scienter/ Intent
1) "In the final analysis, the issue whether
mens rea or scienter is a necessary element
in the indictment and proof of a particular
crime becomes a question of legislative
intent to be construed by the court. Thus, to
insert a mens rea element into the offense,
and to require proof thereof, would defeat
the statutory purpose, which is to criminalize
the introduction of firearms into a school
environment. So we will not add, by
implication, language to the statute that the
legislature expressly has chosen not to
include. Consequently, we hold that the trial
court correctly decided, in refusing the
instruction in question, that this statute is
one of strict criminal liability, and that the
Commonwealth was required to prove only
that the defendant had possessed, on school
property, a firearm of the type described in
the statute.
2) "The contention that an injury can amount
to a crime only when inflicted by intention is
no provincial or transient notion. It is as
universal and persistent in mature systems
of law as belief in freedom of the human will
and a consequent ability and duty of the
normal individual to choose between good
and evil.
A relation between some mental element
and punishment for a harmful act is almost
as instinctive as the child's familiar
exculpatory "But I didn't mean to," and has
afforded the rational basis for a tardy and
unfinished substitution of deterrence and
reformation in place of retaliation and
vengeance as the motivation for public
prosecution.

Unqualified acceptance of this doctrine by


English common law in the Eighteenth
Century was indicated by Blackstone's
sweeping statement that to constitute any
crime there must first be a "vicious will."
Commonlaw
commentators
of
the
Nineteenth Century early pronounced the
same principle, although a few exceptions
not relevant to our present problem came to
be recognized.
Crime, as a compound concept, generally
constituted only from concurrence of an evilmeaning mind with an evildoing hand, was
congenial to an intense individualism.
As the states codified the common law of
crimes, even if their enactments were silent
on the subject, their courts assumed that the
omission did not signify disapproval of the
principle but merely recognized that intent
was so inherent in the idea of the offense
that it required no statutory affirmation.
Courts, with little hesitation or division,
found an implication of the requirement as
to offenses that were taken over from the
common law. The unanimity with which they
have adhered to the central thought that
wrongdoing must be conscious to be
criminal is emphasized by the variety,
disparity and confusion of their definitions of
the requisite but elusive mental element.
However, courts of various jurisdictions, and
for the purposes of different offenses, have
devised working formulae, if not scientific
ones, for the instruction of juries around
such terms as "felonious intent," "criminal
intent,"
"malice
aforethought,"
"guilty
knowledge,"
"fraudulent
intent,"
"wilfulness," "scienter," to denote guilty
knowledge, or "mens rea," to signify an evil
purpose or mental culpability.
By use or combination of these various
tokens, they have sought to protect those
who were not blameworthy in mind from
conviction
of
infamous
commonlaw
crimes....The Government asks us by a feat
of construction radically to change the
weights and balances in the scales of justice.
The purpose and obvious effect of doing
away with the requirement of a guilty intent
is to ease the prosecution's path to
conviction, to strip the defendant of such
benefit as he derived at common law from
innocence
of
evil
purpose,
and
to
circumscribe the freedom heretofore allowed
juries.
Such a manifest impairment of the
immunities of the individual should not be
extended to commonlaw crimes on judicial
initiative.

3) "The presence of a "vicious will" or mens


rea was long a requirement of criminal
responsibility. But the list of exceptions
grew, especially in the expanding regulatory
area involving activities affecting public
health, safety, and welfare. Id., at 254. The
statutory
offense
of
embezzlement,
borrowed from the common law where
scienter was historically required, was in a
different category. 13 Id., at 260261.
"[W]here Congress borrows terms of art in
which are accumulated the legal tradition
and meaning [401 U.S. 601, 608] of
centuries of practice, it presumably knows
and adopts the cluster of ideas that were
attached to each borrowed word in the body
of learning from which it was taken and the
meaning its use will convey to the judicial
mind unless otherwise instructed."
The Dillon Rule and Grants of Authority
The Dillon Rule of strict construction controls
our determination of the powers of local
governing bodies. This rule provides that
municipal corporations have only those
powers that are expressly granted, those
necessarily or fairly implied from expressly
granted powers, and those that are essential
and indispensable.
"In determining legislative intent, the rule is
clear that where a power is conferred and
the mode of its execution is specified, no
other method may be selected; any other
means would be contrary to legislative
intent and, therefore, unreasonable. A
necessary corollary is that where a grant of
power is silent upon its mode of execution, a
method of exercise clearly contrary to
legislative intent, or inappropriate to the
ends sought to be accomplished by the
grant, also would be unreasonable.
"Consistent with the necessity to uphold
legislative intent, the doctrine of implied
powers should neverbe applied to create a
power that does not exist or to expand an
existing power beyond rational limits.
Always, the test in application of the
doctrine is reasonableness, in which concern
for what is necessary to promote the public
interest is a key element.
Finally, when a statute creates a specific
grant of authority, the authority exists only
to the extent specifically granted in the
statute. It can never go beyond the authority
given.
6) When the legislature delegates authority
to an administrative agency to promulgate
regulations, those regulations must neither
exceed the scope of the authority delegated
nor be inconsistent with it. Furthermore,

"delegations of legislative power are valid


only if they establish specific policies and fix
definite standards to guide the official,
agency, or board in the exercise of the
power. Delegations of legislative power
which lack such policies and standards are
unconstitutional and void." For example,
language in an enabling statute which
provides merely "that the regulations be
designed to protect and promote the safety
and health of employees" is insufficient.
7) "We consistently have held that when the
primary purpose of an enactment is to raise
revenue, the enactment will be considered a
tax, regardless of the name attached to the
act. The General Assembly is directly
prohibited from enacting any local, special,
or private law . . . [f]or the assessment and
collection of taxes. There is, however, an
exception to this specific prohibition. The
General Assembly may by special act like RA
7160(Local Government Code)delegating the
power of taxation to any province, city,
municipality.
Inconsistent Regulations/Laws
As a preliminary matter, we agree with
Manassas' statements that regulations of
Executive Departments have the force of
law, and that any Executive Department
concerned with the execution of a statutes
interpretation of its governing statutes, as
reflected in its regulations, is entitled to
great weight. Regulations, however, may not
conflict with the authorizing statute.
Whether a regulation is inconsistent with its
enabling legislation isproperly a subject of
judicial review.
If both the statute and the ordinance can
stand together and be given effect, it is the
duty of the courts to harmonize them and
not nullify the ordinance.
City and municipal ordinances must be
consistent with STATUTES. Such ordinances
are inconsistent with state law when they
cannot co-exist with a statute. The fact that
a county or municipal ordinance enlarges on
a statute's provisions does not create a
conflict with the statute unless the statute
limits the requirements (Separability Clause
is inserted)for all cases to its own terms.
Thus, if a statute and a local ordinance both
can be given effect, courts must harmonize
them and apply them together.
A Single Body of Law
1) "When attempting to define terms in one
part of the Code, courts should read a
statute with "a view toward harmonizing it
with other statutes. "Ordinarily, when a
particular word in a statute is not defined

therein, a court must give it its ordinary


meaning.

scheme was so punitive either in purpose or


effect as to negate that intention

2) "When asked to interpret various code


sections, the SUPREME Court oftenexamines
other related statutes that contain similar or
contrasting languageto help determine
legislative intent.

Supremacy Clause of the Constitution

The Exclusion Rule


Ambiguity
1) "Language is ambiguouswhen it may be u
nderstood in more than one way, or
simultaneously refers to two or more things.
2) "When the language of a statute is
ambiguous, it must be interpreted in a
manner that will give effect to the intent of
CONGRESS.
3)
"The
primary
goal
ofstatutory
construction is to discern and give effect
tolegislative intent, with the reading of a
statute as a whole influencing the proper
construction
of
ambiguous
individual
provisions
4) Doctrine of Contra proferentem:"Used in
the connection with the construction of
written documents to the effect that an
ambiguous provision is construed most
strongly against the person who selected the
language." Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Ed.
5) "Instead, we find the restrictive covenant,
in
particular
the
phrase
"residential
purposes," to be ambiguous in several
respects....Indeed, even the circuit court's
interpretation that the term " '[r]esidence'
means more than mere physical presence
and less than domicile" is ambiguous. It can
be argued that a nightly or weekly rental is
more
than
mere
physical
presence.
Moreover,
if
the
phrase
"residential
purposes" carries with it a "duration of use"
component, it is ambiguous as to when a
rental of the property moves from shortterm
to longterm. Under our case law, a
restrictive covenant of "substantial doubt or
ambiguity" must be interpreted "in favor of
the free use of property and against
restrictions
Criminal Versus Civil Intent of a Statute
The question whether a particular statutorily
defined penalty is civil or criminal is a matter
of statutory construction." First, one must
determine whether the legislature, in
establishing the penalizing mechanism,
indicates either expressly or impliedly a
preference for one label or the other.
Second, where the legislature has indicated
an intention to establish a civil penalty, one
must address "whether the statutory

1) "By virtue of the Supremacy Clause of the


Constitution supersedes any conflicting state
law. The preemption of Local laws by
STATUTES may occur by express statutory
language or other clear indication that
Congress intended to legislate exclusively in
the area. Even if Congress does not intend
the enactment of a STATUTORY scheme
completely to preempt Local laws in the
area, congressional enactments in the same
field override Local laws with which they
conflict.
The Supreme Court has identified three ways
in which preemption may occur:
(1) Congress may adopt express language
setting forth the existence and scope of
preemption;
(2) Congress may adopt a framework for
regulation that "occupies the field" and
leaves no room for states to adopt
supplemental laws; and
(3) when statute actually conflicts with the
constitution, typically when compliance with
both laws is a "physical impossibility" or the
statute stands "as an obstacle to the
accomplishment and execution of the full
purposes and objectives of Congress.
2) "Settled legal principles provide that the
Constitution, not a state court erroneous
interpretation of it, is controlling. (in context
of
determining
whether
to
apply
retroactively a new rule for the conduct of
criminal prosecutions, adopting Blackstonian
view that judges...find the law rather than
make the law and that judicial declaration of
law is merely a statement of what the law
has always been.
Public Policy
1) "A court may not "secondguess the
lawmakers on matters of economics,
sociology and public policy. . . . Those
considerations belong exclusively in the
legislative domain. Regardless of whether it
"may or may not be better public policy".
Meaning COURTS do not interpret provisions
for ECONOMICS, SOCIOLOGY and PUBLIC
POLICY.
2) "Judicial review does not evaluate the
"propriety,
wisdom,
necessity
and
expediency" of legislation. We ask only
whether the statutory classification erects
an irrational, arbitrary distinction one that
no conceivable state of facts could
reasonably sustain.