Friday, September 30, 2011

This land is Your Land: Judicial Interpretation Illustrated #2

In an earlier post, I advanced the position that the process and results of judicial interpretation can be illustrated by making analogy to the process of music interpretation. Popular music can be a particularly effective device to illustrate complex legal principles. Since students already know and understand popular music and how it works, making proper analogy between what is well understood and what needs to be learned promotes understanding.

Below are six videos of the song, This Land is Your Land, beginning with a version by author/composer/performer, Woody Guthrie. If Guthrie's version is "the law," then what happens when the law is interpreted by other judges.  The song maintains certain consistency of melody and lyrics, but problematic verses are removed and tempo, arrangement and overall effect vary significantly.

This progression of videos may also be used to illustrate, more specifically, the topic of statutory interpretation along the lines as described in this earlier post.

Click on the image below to view the energetic performance of the Fabulous Echoes:

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