Three Seemingly Pointless Laws Still on the Books Today

Any legal professional who's ever done even the smallest amount of law research has more than likely encountered a legal statute or two that seems devoid of any legislative intent at all. Unbelievably, the U.S. legal system is rife with laws that seem to lack any purpose, and perhaps most baffling of all, these laws are still on the books today. To help give you a better idea of just how many of these weird laws there are and how silly they can be, here are a few examples. Felons Cannot Conduct Games of Bingo. Bensalem, Pennsylvania takes its Bingo so seriously that it has a law whose legislative intent is to ban people convicted of a ... Read More >

Four of the Weirdest Animal Laws of All Time

Humans aren't the only ones who have to follow the rules. It doesn't take much legislative history research to turn up an animal law or two, but if you keep at it long enough, your law research will eventually yield some pretty weird legal statutes. Here are just a few strange laws that'll make you laugh harder than a hyena. Wait, You Can't Go Into the Dog Park Without Wearing a What? When writing a legal statute, getting the language and rhetoric right can be a little tricky. Legal English is a dialect that's often used when writing laws to have a dramatic effect. It often has an unusual word order, as its grammatical structures are ... Read More >

Federal judge tackles legislative intent

  What does this statute mean? As we are well aware here at Legislative Intent Service, in the face of ambiguous language, sometimes this simple question has no easy answers. Sure, we have canons of statutory interpretation. But what happens when we need more? In his new book, Judging Statutes, Hon. Robert Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, talks about why it is appropriate consider legislative intent when interpreting ambiguous statutes. Justice John Paul Stevens has just inked a review of Judge Katzmann’s book for The New York Review of Books. In his review, “Law Without History?” ... Read More >

Three of the Weirdest Traffic Laws You’ll Read About Today

About 20% of all civil lawsuits in the U.S. have to do with automobile accidents. Every day, people get speeding tickets, have fender benders, or break traffic laws in a myriad of other ways -- some of which may be stranger than you'd think. Here are some of the weirdest traffic laws our legislative history research dug up. Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road in Quitman, Georgia? It didn't. In Quitman, Georgia, there's a legal statute that forbids chickens from crossing the road. Whether that law was created by a legislator who was sick and tired of hearing that particular joke or if it was created to keep lackadaisical farmers-in line is ... Read More >

Are You Breaking These Weird Laws?

People all over the world seek help from law professionals to interpret and understand legal statutes and legislative history -- and with good reason. Legal English is very different from standard English, with its own dictionary and a very different set of grammatical rules. Laws oddities and peculiarity do not stop there, however. What are some of the strangest state laws and/or federal statutes and regulations in the U.S.? Illinois Students Demand "Sip and Spit" Allowances Food service and culinary arts students who are under the age of 21 (and 18 and up) may be able to legally sip alcohol in the state of Illinois. The proposed bill ... Read More >

Three Laws So Weird You Almost Want to Break Them

It can be pretty difficult to understand the legislative intent of any particular legal statute for a variety of reasons. First of all, many legal statutes are written in Legal English, a dialect of lawyers in English-speaking countries that's loaded with obtuse jargon, syntax, and odd punctuation choices. Secondly, some legal statutes are so old that they've lost their context. This means that the issues they were meant to rectify have since been resolved, rendering the legal statutes obsolete despite the fact that they remain on the books. For these two reasons, you may come across certain legal statutes in your legislative history ... Read More >