Citizenship, the Census and Statutory Construction

by Karl Denninger

There are basic rules founded in simple language that govern statutory construction.

One of them is that shall means shall and may means may. Likewise shall not means what it says as well.

The next is that a claimed “interpretation” that leads to an absurd result, absent demonstrated intent to obtain said absurd result, is always wrong. In other words the writers of Statutes and Constitutions are presumed to have not intended a facially absurd result to come from their actions.

Take the Second Amendment. The language is clear: SHALL NOT be infringed.

There are those, predominantly lefties, who try to argue that the entire thing is invalid because it would be an utterly absurd result if it allowed you to keep and bear a nuclear missile. Therefore, they can ban any gun they want as the entire constraint is void.

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