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Tracy Hester
Statutory Interpretation
and Regulations

Spring 2020


LAW 5378

Monday-Wednesday 10:30 am - 11:45 am




No. Date Topics Guest Speaker(s) or Reading Panels Readings Comments and Reference Materials
1. Jan. 13, 2020

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 only for this session)


2. Jan. 15, 2020 How the Federal Legislative Process Works  

pp. 33-58

Lecture (audio)

Video summary of Civil Rights Act passage

H.Res. 1164 (2018) (Standing Rules of the House of the 116th Congress )

Standing Rules of the Senate


Jan. 20, 2020

MLK Holiday      
3. Jan. 22, 2020

Details of the Federal Legislative Process


pp. 58-80

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

PowerPoint (.pdf

Legislative Strategy Worksheet 

Lecture (audio)

Class Selfie 

S. Res. 483 (2020) (Senate impeachment trial resolution)  .

Senate general impeachment Rules 

I'm Just A Bill

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

4. Jan. 27, 2020

GUEST SPEAKERS: Rep. Sarah Davis and former Texas Houston Parliamentarian Chris Griesel 

Class will be held at usual time, but in classroom TUII 144 Texas Legislative Flowchart

Texas Legislative Process PowerPoint (FYI only; not required reading)

5. Jan. 29, 2020

The Rise of Alternative Law-Making

Delegation of authority and Congressional control of delegation


pp. 83-95, 106-115

King v. Burwell 

Legislative Strategy Review Sheet 

Lecture (audio)

6. Feb. 3, 2020 Executive Authority and Role in Statutory Formation:  Hiring and Firing  

pp. 129-155

Seila Law v. CFPB briefing page

The  Supreme Court Could Upend Consumer Financial Protection as We Know It (Jan. 24, 2020) (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

Seila Law Firm v. CFPB certiorari petition and  reply amicus brief
7. Feb. 5, 2020

Executive Authority and Role in Statutory Formation:  How Agencies Turn Statutes Into Action

GUEST SPEAKER: Mark Kuster, Texas Legislative Council

pp. 181-211

FDCA Section 321(g)(1)

Lecture (audio)

Thank You for Smoking hearing testimony

8. Feb. 10, 2020 Introduction to Statutory Interpretation: Legislative Intent and Legislative Purpose  

pp. 299-318

Holy Trinity statutory language

Lecture (audio)

Gangs of New York dock scene

9. Feb. 12, 2020

Legislative Purpose; 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)

Justice Kagan lecture on statutory interpretation .

 Snail darter

10. Feb. 17, 2020 "New Textualism"  

pp. 366-370, 386-409

Lecture (audio)

11. Feb. 19, 2020

Canons of Statutory Interpretation: Where Do They Come From?

Intro to Textual Canons


pp. 430-445, 447-471

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

Texas Code Construction Act, Sections 311 and 312 et seq

Powerpoint (.pdf)    

Lecture (audio)



12. Feb. 24, 2020 Whole Act Rule and other canons  

pp. 471-490

Spotted Owl 

Spotted Owl habitat

Lecture (audio)

13. Feb. 26, 2020

Rule of Lenity


pp. 490-512

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

Baby Driver opening scene 

Lecture (audio)  


14. March 2, 2020 Constitutional Avoidance and Major Questions Canon  

pp. 512-532

Texas Campus Concealed Carry Law

Handgun definition 

Lecture (audio)

Avoidance Creep by Prof. Charlotte Garden

15. March 4, 2020 Clear Statement Federalism Rule  

pp. 532-552

Texas Code Construction Act Section 311.034

Lecture (audio)

  March 9-13, 2020 SPRING BREAK      
  March 16 - 18, 2020

Classes cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak



16. March 23, 2020 Rule Against Implied Repeals, and Reflection of Changed Circumstances  

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

(note summary of coherence canons on pp. 566-569)

IRS Code Section 501(c)(3)

Texas Code Construction Act Section 311.027

Zoom lecture

17. Recorded make-up class Use of Legislative History in Interpretation
Asynchronous session - review at your convenience before April 15, 2020.

pp. 630-649, 674-685

Digital Realty Trust v. Somers (focus on concurring opinions)

PowerPoint lecture 1 (orthodox approaches to legislative history)
Zoom lecture 2 (Public Citizen v. DOJ)
PowerPoint lecture 3 (legislative history and alternative law-making)


18. March 25, 2020

Guest Lecture by Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby and Southern District of Texas federal Judge Lee Rosenthal. They will discuss the way judges construe statutes and the substantive value of textual approaches.

Class will take place on Zoom at this link. We have the other two 1L sections to join this special session.


Zoom lecture

19. March 30, 2020

Discussion of Guest Lecture

Introduction to Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice


pp. 711-735

PowerPoint (.pdf)

OIRA Dashboard

Due to technical difficulties, this class Zoom session did not record. My apologies.

Federal Rulemaking Process flowchart and summary report
20. April 1, 2020

Judicial Review of Agency Policy Making


pp. 735-755

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Update on Rulemaking Process (.pdf)

Section 208 Timeline

Zoom lecture

21. April 6, 2020 Agency Adjudication - Due Process requirements  

pp. 756-763, 777-800

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Zoom lecture

Brett Kavanaugh on Morrison v Olson

Bono's bleep

18 U.S.C. 1464

22. April 8, 2020 Judicial Review of Informal Agency Rulemaking and Agency Inaction  

pp. 801-817, 823-837

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Zoom lecture

Guidance to Compliance with Congressional Review Act (April 11, 2019)

    Voluntary Practice Exam   I will post the sample Practice Exam online here. You can take it at your convenience, but it should only require one hour. Practice Exam

Multiple Choice Answers

Essay Outline
23. April 13, 2020

Review of Informal Agency Guidance and Determinations

Introduction to Judicial Deference on Agency Interpretations

pp. 838-843, 855-871

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Zoom lecture


24. April 15, 2020

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


pp. 892 note 3 to pp. 909 (not including Note on Empirical Studies)

Kisor v. U.S.

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Zoom lecture

Chevron Two-Step

Kisor oral argument

25. April 22, 2020

Post-Chevron and Future Directions


pp. 912-939

PowerPoint (.pdf)

DOJ Manual 1-20.000 re Use of Guidance Documents in Litigation

Zoom lecture

Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2017

Arizona HB 2238 (2018)

27. April 24, 2020 Voluntary Final Review Session

Deadline to submit email questions: Monday, April 27 at noon CDT. I will circulate a global answer to those emails by 5 pm CDT the same day to the entire class (unless you ask me to keep your question confidential)

Review Session Zoom lecture

Sample Essay Review Question and Answer Key

Sample Multiple Choice Questions and Answer Key

Do Your Worst! I Defy You!
  May _, 2020

Final exam will take place during the week of April 28-May 2; you must upload your exam answer before 5 pm on Saturday, May 2


Email Review Questions and Answers