Ernst on Law & Policy at the New Deal Agricultural Adjustment Administration

Daniel R. Ernst (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Mr. Try-It Goes to Washington: Law and Policy at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (Fordham Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: In December 1933, Jerome Frank, the general counsel of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration but better for writing Law and the Modern Mind (1930), a sensational attack on legal formalism, told an audience at the Association of American Law Schools a parable about two lawyers in the New Deal, each forced to interpret same, ambiguous statutory language. The first lawyer, “Mr. Absolute,” reasoned from the text and canons of statutory interpretation without regard for the desirability of the outcome. “Mr. Try-It,” in contrast, began with the outcome he thought desirable. He then said to himself, “The administration is for it, and justifiably so. It is obviously in line with the general intention of Congress as shown by…

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