I urge those readers who think that the debate between textualism and purposivism in statutory interpretation is a bit on the dull/wonkish side to read my latest FindLaw column. It addresses the timeless issue---recently resolved by the Iowa Supreme Court---whether a peeping tom who masturbates outside a woman's window, but who is not seen by that woman, yet is seen (and by seen I mean "seen") by a police officer, has committed the crime of indecent exposure. The Iowa Supreme Court, in a defendant-friendly textualist opinion says he has not committed the offense as defined by the Iowa statute. A purposivist dissent accompanies the opinion. Is it only a matter of time before this case appears in casebooks for courses on Legislation and Statutory Interpretation?
Posted by Mike Dorf