Statutory Obsolescence and the Judicial Process: The Revisionist Role of the Courts in Federal Banking Regulation

What do – or should – courts do when asked to interpret an apparently “obsolete” statute? This question is an important one half a century or more after the enactment of much of the fundamental federal legislation in such fields of economic regulation as labor, communications, antitrust, securities, and – the subject of this study banking. For a variety of reasons, including political inertia and special interest pressure, many of these statutes remain substantially unchanged even though the assumptions about marketplace structure and conditions that formed the basis for the legislation have long since ceased to hold true.