法律翻译 |《哈佛法律评论》第134卷第2期目录+摘要

法律翻译 |《哈佛法律评论》第134卷第2期目录+摘要


译者 | 傅玄 福州大学本科

一审 | 戚若音 UCL LL.M.

二审 | Cindy Wong University of Leeds LL.B

编辑 | NYZ 武汉大学本科

责编 | 王冰子 烟台大学本科


Testing Ordinary Meaning


作者:Kevin P. Tobia

Within legal scholarship and practice, among the most pervasive tasks is the interpretation of texts. And within legal interpretation, perhaps the most pervasive inquiry is the search for “ordinary meaning.” Jurists often treat ordinary meaning analysis as an empirical inquiry, aiming to discover a fact about how people understand language. When evaluating ordinary meaning, interpreters rely on dictionary definitions or patterns of common usage, increasingly via “legal corpus linguistics” approaches. However, the most central question about these popular methods remains open: Do they reliably reflect ordinary meaning? This Article presents experiments that assess whether (a) dictionary definitions and (b) common usage data reflect (c) how people actually understand language today.


The Article elaborates the implications of two main experimental results. First, neither the dictionary nor legal corpus linguistics methods reliably track ordinary people’s judgments about meaning. This finding shifts the argumentative burden to jurists who rely on these tools to identify “ordinary meaning” or “original public meaning”: these views must articulate and demonstrate a reliable method of analysis. Moreover, this divergence illuminates several interpretive fallacies. For example, advocates of legal corpus linguistics often contend that the nonappearance of a specific use in a corpus indicates that the use is not part of the relevant term’s ordinary meaning. The experiments reveal this claim to be a “Nonappearance Fallacy.” Ordinary meaning exceeds datasets of common usage — even very large ones.


Second, dictionary and legal corpus linguistics verdicts diverge dramatically from each other. Part of that divergence is explained by the finding that broad dictionary definitions tend to direct interpreters to extensive interpretations, while data of common usage tends to point interpreters to more prototypical cases. This divergence suggests two different criteria that are often relevant in interpretation: a more extensive criterion and a more narrow criterion. Although dictionaries and legal corpus linguistics might, in some cases, help us identify these criteria, a hard legal-philosophical question remains: Which of these two criteria should guide the interpretation of terms and phrases in legal texts? Insofar as there is no compelling case to prefer one, the results suggest that dictionary definitions, legal corpus linguistics, or even other more scientific measures of meaning may not be equipped in principle to deliver simple and unequivocal answers to inquiries about the so-called “ordinary meaning” of legal texts.




The Failed Transparency Regime for Executive Agreements: An Empirical and Normative Analysis


作者:Oona A. Hathaway, Curtis A. Bradley & Jack L. Goldsmith

The Constitution specifies only one process for making international agreements. Article II states that the President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” The treaty process has long been on a path to obsolescence, however, with fewer and fewer treaties being made in each presidential administration. Nevertheless, the United States has not stopped making international agreements. Even as Article II treaties have come to a near halt, the United States has concluded hundreds of binding international agreements each year. These agreements, known as “executive agreements,” are made by the President without submitting them to the Senate, or to Congress, at all. Congress has responded to the rise of executive agreements by imposing a transparency regime — requiring that all the binding executive agreements be reported to Congress and that important agreements be published for the public to see.


Until now, however, there has been no systematic assessment of how well the transparency regime has been working. This Article seeks to fill that gap. Through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, we obtained thousands of documents relating to the agreements reported to Congress and the legal authority on which the executive branch has relied for these agreements. Together with a series of interviews with lawyers directly involved in the process, this new information has given us an unprecedented look inside the system of concluding, publicizing, and reporting executive agreements. For the first time, we can describe how the system for making and scrutinizing executive agreements actually works — and when and how it fails to work. The overall picture that emerges is one of dysfunction and nonaccountability. In brief: there is reason to believe that the executive branch’s reporting to Congress has been incomplete; the entire publication and reporting process is opaque to everyone involved, including executive branch officials and congressional staffers; and Congress is failing in its oversight role. The “system” is badly in need of repair if we are going to preserve the integrity and legality of the United States’ primary means of making international commitments. 

但是时至今日,对透明制度运作情况的系统化评估尚未出现,而本文力图填补这一空白。我们通过一例美国《信息自由法》(Freedom of Information Act)相关诉讼获得数千件文件,这些文件与行政部门向国会报告的协定以及其赖以达成的法定权限有关。加上一系列对直接参与该诉讼程序的律师的采访,我们得以史无前例地一窥行政协定的缔结、公布、报告制度。这也是我们第一次阐明行政协定的缔结、审查制度究竟如何运作以及它们何时而又怎样失效。该制度目前总体呈现出制度失灵、缺乏问责机制的景象。一言以蔽之,我们有理由相信行政部门向国会的报告是不全面的;公布与报告的全过程对每一位参与者(包括行政部门官员以及国会议员)是不透明的;并且国会没有履行好监管的职责。为维护美国最重要的做出国际承诺方式的完整性与合法性,这一制度亟待完善。



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