Originally Posted by brokencycle
The shocking thing is that the ruling was 6-3. Roberts AND Kennedy?
Edit: Also LOL at "inartful drafting." Tell me lawyers of styleforum, can I use that on all of my contracts where it is written differently than I want? "No the meaning is clear, it was just inartful drafting"
Not expressing a view on the ACA ruling, which I have mot read.
But to your question - the rules for interpreting statutes are not exactly the same as the rules for interpreting contracts. But there are doctrines such as "mutual mistake" and in some cases "unilateral mistake" that can apply in interpreting contracts.
Generally, a court's primary respomsibility in interpreting a contract is to determine the intent of the parties at the time the contract was formed. For obvious reasons, the actual words of the contract are the first point of reference, and the apparent meaning of thise terms in ordinary usage (or as explicitly defined elsewhere in the contract) controls. But in some circumstances, if the evidence that the parties truly intended something else (e.g., evidence that there was a drafting or typographical error, evidence that the word in question is a term of art with an idiosyncratic meaning within the parties' industry, when the overall context of the agreement would make the otherwise most likely interpretation nonsensical) the court can consider that evidence.
I'm sure you can see the wisdom of this approach, at least from the important perspective of lawyerly remuneration.