John P. Finan


Such "creative" statutory construction is familiar to anyone who reads appellate decisions. Whatever one's views on so-called strict construction, one must recognize that in the actual working of law, this type of creative interpretation is prevalent. One who designs a computer system to do some aspects of legal analysis must take into consideration the creative dimension of the judge's role. Otherwise the computer will "calculate legal results" which are literally correct but faithless to the law as it is actually interpreted. It would be easy to design a system to draw legal inferences if one accepted a mechanical, slot machine jurisprudence. However, whatever view one takes on the subject, slot machine jurisprudence does not capture what the courts actually do. Thus, any computer system based upon mechanistic assumptions would be useless to the practitioner. This analysis applies with equal force to the application of logic to law.