Every governmental power, including judicial power, must be restrained under the law. The courts are required to use their power under the effective control of the Constitution. It is useful to adopt textualism to bound the discretion of the courts’interpretive power. Textualism deems the text of the statute as having significant meaning, and simultaneously intends to draw boundaries that the courts must not violate.
Recently, however, the Supreme Court of the United States has adopted purposivism in certain major cases. It eschewed the natural reading of the statute and delved into the political context to interpret the legislative background of the statute. This seems to be an infringement of the legislative powers of making rules, and the administrative power to interpret the statute.
This article seeks to elucidate why the U.S. Supreme Court has taken this approach. NLRB v. SW General Inc. was expected to shed light on the reason for the Court’s adoption of purposivism, but no clear explanation emerged. This article analyzes and reviews some of the plausible explanations researchers have offered for the shift.