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Tracy Hester
Statutory Interpretation
and Regulation
Spring 2018


LAW 5378

TUII 240
Tuesday-Thursday 10:30 am - noon



No. Date Topics Guest Speaker(s) or Reading Panels Readings Comments and Reference Materials
0. Jan. 16, 2018 CLASS CANCELLED due to ice storm      
1. Jan. 18, 2018

Introduction to Class


Introduction to class statutory exercise


Our text will be Eskridge, Gluck and Nourse's Statutes, Regulation, and Interpretation (2014). Unless otherwise noted, all page references below are to Eskridge.

The Parks Safety Act of 1980

pp. 1-33

Lecture (audio)


    OPTIONAL: Free Showing of Selma at Student Union South Theater, Jan. 24, at 6 pm to 9 pm (with panel discussion before screening)    
2. Jan. 23, 2018 How the Federal Legislative Process Works  

pp. 33-58

Lecture (audio)

Video summary of Civil Rights Act passage

H.Res. 5

Senate Rules for 116th Congress

Class selfie

3. Jan. 25, 2018

Theories of Legislative Process


pp. 58-80

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Prepare to discuss Problem 1-2 (p.80)

Strategy memo for legislation to protect sexual orientation under Civil Rights Act (2018)

Lecture (audio)

I'm Just A Bill

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Strategy memo for legislation to repeal Affordable Care Act (2017)

Texas Legislative Flowchart

4. Jan. 30, 2018

The Rise of Alternative Law-Making

Delegation of authority and Congressional control of delegation


pp. 83-95, 106-127

Lecture (audio)

Oversight hearing with Scottt Pruitt

HBA Calendar

5. Feb. 1, 2018

Executive Authority and Role in Statutory Formation


pp. 129-169 (just skim the Steel Seizure case)

Lecture (audio)

Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? Mulvaney v. English

Sally Yates

Janet Yellen

PHH Corp. v. CFPB (D.C. Cir. 1/31/18)

6. Feb. 6, 2018 Executive Authority and Role in Statutory Formation  

pp. 181-211

FDCA Section 321(g)(1)

Lecture (audio)

Confirmation hearing(s) for Kathleen Hartnett White

Thank You For Smoking congressional testimony

Houston Bar Association Oil & Gas Section Luncheon with In-House Counsel

7. Feb. 8, 2018

Guest lecture - Rep. Sarah Davis and Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel

Class will take place in Krost Hall at our usual class time. We have opened this special session to all three 1st-year sections.

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture not recorded


8. Feb.13, 2018 CLASS RESCHEDULED - I'll be out of town. We'll provide a make-up lecture electronically at a future date.      
9. Feb. 15, 2018 Introduction to Statutory Interpretation: Legislative Intent  

pp. 299-318

Holy Trinity statutory language

Lecture (audio)

10. Feb. 20, 2018

Legislative Purpose


pp. 318-48 (focus on the Matter of Jacob and Matter of Dana cases on p. 340)

Lecture (audio)

Rainbow White House

11. Feb. 22, 2018 Textualism and Plain Meaning  

pp. 349-66 (don't read the Bob Jones University v. U.S. decision referenced on p. 349; we'll read it later in the semester)

Lecture (audio)

The Snail Darter

The Dam

12. Feb. 27, 2018 "New Textualism"  

pp. 366-370, 386-409

Lecture (audio)

Interview with Justice Scalia (re "corruption" of judicial perspective)

13. March 1, 2018 Statutory Interpretation: Pragmatic Approaches  

pp. 409-435


Lecture (audio)

Justice Kagan interview on statutory interpretation

14. March 6, 2018 Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Textual Canons Please remember to email me by 5:00 pm today (3/6/18) any questions to our judges for the special Thursday class

pp. 447-471

PowerPoint (.pdf)

NAM v. DOD handout

Lecture (audio)

U.S. Dictionary Act (1 U.S.C. section 1 et seq.)

Texas Code Construction Act, Rule 311.011 et seq

HBA Oil & Gas Section lunch on legal issues for fracking

15. March 8, 2018

Guest Lecture by Justice Brett Busby (14th Cir. Ct. Apps., Tex) and Southern District of Texas federal Judge Lee Rosenthal. They will discuss the way judges construe statutes and the substantive value of textual aproaches.

Class will take place in Krost Hall at 10:30 am. We have combined all three 1st sections for this special session.


Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (U.S. Supreme Court, Feb. 21, 2018)

Lecture (audio)

Violin Man

Reading Law table of contents

  March 12-17, 2018 SPRING BREAK      
16. March 20, 2018

Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Whole Act Rule


pp. 471-490

Lecture (audio)

Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?, NYT Magazine (3/13/18)

World's Last Male Northern White Rhino Dies, CNN (3/20/18)

O'Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy (the case of the Oxford Comma).

AIPN Speed Networking Event

17. March 22 2018 Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Rule of Lenity and Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance  

pp. 490-520

Texas Code Construction Act, Rule 311.022, 311.021, 311.032, 312.013

Lecture (audio)

Trump word cloud

Baby Driver opening scene

18. March 27, 2018 Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Clear Statement Rule for Federalism  

pp. 532-552

Texas Code Construction Act Section 311.034

Lecture (audio)

Texas Campus Carry Law

Definition of "firearm" and "handgun"

19. March 29, 2018 Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Rule Against Implied Repeals, and Reflection of Changed Circumstances  

pp. 552-568 (skim), 576-599

Texas Code Construction Act at Section 311.025, 311.026

Lecture (audio)


20-21. MAKE-UP CLASSES Use of Legislative History in Interpretation

This class will make up for the rescheduled session on Feb. 13 as well as catch-up material in anticipation of our guest lecture next week by Deputy GC Burke.

We will provide this class lecture and supporting discussion electronically.

pp. 601-616 (but not Problem 6-1), 630-649

pp. 653-658, 674-697

E-class (audio)

Letter from White House Counsel to ABA

White House Ends Bar Association's Role in Vetting Judges (NYT, 3/31/17).

20. April 3, 2018

Introduction to Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice

Guest lecture by EPA Deputy General Counsel Marcella Burke. She will discuss the fundamentals of agency practice, working within a federal agency, and key issues for advocates seeking to participate in EPA rulemaking or enforcement actions.





April 5, 2018

Introduction to Administrative Law and Practice


pp. 711-735

Oxitec Mosquito Experimental Use Permit Notice

Lecture (audio)

Administrative Procedure Act sections 701, 702, 706

Chemical Safety Board oversight hearing

Memorandum re Presidential Signing Statements, 72 Fed. Reg. 10669 (March 9, 2009)

Reince Priebus memorandum re regulatory freeze (Jan. 20, 2017)

Memorandum from Rahm Emanuel re Regulatory Review (Jan. 20, 2009)

OIRA Dashboard


  April 6, 2018

Voluntary Midterm


We will meet at noon in TUII 240 (our usual classroom). The test will last for one hour.

As discussed, the test is open-book and allows use of your own notes. No third-party outlines or commercial materials are allowed.

You may elect to substitute your midterm grade for your lowest single essay grade on your final examination.

Midterm Exam


Multiple Choice Answers


Essay Outline

22. April 10, 2018 Judicial Review of Agency Policy Making  

pp. 735-755

Section 208 Timeline

Lecture (audio)


23. April 12, 2018 Agency Adjudication - Due Process requirements  

pp. 756-763, 777-800

Lecture (audio)

Bono's bleep

18 U.S.C. 1464

22. April 17, 2018

Judicial Review of Informal Agency Rulemaking and Agency Inaction


pp. 801-817

Lecture (audio)


23. April 19, 2018

Wrap-Up on Agency Inaction

Review of Informal Agency Guidance and Determinations

Update on Congressional and Executive Changes to Administrative Rulemaking Process


pp. 822-843, 848-853

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

DOJ Policy on Use of Guidance in Civil Enforcement Litigation (2018)

Shining Light on Regulatory Dark Matter(U.S. House Oversight Comm. 2018)

GOOD Act, S.B. 2296 (2018)

24. April 24, 2018

Judicial Deference to Agency Interpretations: Skidmore-Chevron-Mead and Current Efforts to Reverse Chevron

Sign-Up Sheet for Office Visits

pp. 855-871, 892 n.3 - 909 (not including Note on Empirical Studies)

Lecture (audio)

Chevron Two-Step

Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2017

Arizona HB 2238 (2018)

25. April 26, 2018 Judicial Deference and Multiple Agency Action

pp. 924-939

Lecture (audio)

Breyer Rushes to Chevron's Defense Amid Gorsuch Attacks (Law360, 4/24/18)

Course Evaluation at AccessUH

  April 26, 2018

VOLUNTARY Review Session - we'll begin immediately after our final class on April 26 in our usual classroom. The session will last from noon to 1 pm.

Deadline to submit email questions: April 29 at 10:00 pm. I will circulate a global answer to those emails on April 30 to the entire class (unless you ask me to keep your question confidential).


Review Session (audio)

Sample Essay Review Question

Sample Multiple Choice Questions

Answers to Email Questions for Finals Review

Sample Essay Review Question Answer Key








Final exam will take place on May 1 in Rooms 209BLB and 213BLB at 9 am - noon.