INTEREST, MARITIME. By maritime interest is understood the profit of money
lent on bottomry or respondentia, which is allowed to be greater than simple
interest because the capital of the lender is put in jeopardy. There is no
limit by law as to the amount which may be charged for maritime interest. It
is fixed generally by the agreement of the parties.
2. The French writers employ a variety of terms in order to distinguish if according to the nature of the case. They call it interest, when it is stipulated to be paid by the month, or at other stated periods. It is a premium, when a gross sum is to be paid at the end of the voyage, and here the risk is the principal object they have in view. When the sum is a per centage on the money lent, they call it exchange, considering it in the light of money lent at one place to be returned in another, with a difference in amount between the sum borrowed and that which is paid, arising from the difference of time and place. When they intend to combine these various shades into one general denomination, they make use of the term maritime profit, to convey their meaning. Hall on Mar. Loans, 56, n.
My answer is: Maybe sometimes, but an interpreter should do a lot more work before drawing this inference. First, the interpreter should ask whether members of the enacting legislature would have been aware of the reasons for doubting the constitutionality of the one interpretation. If so, the interpreter should ask whether members of the enacting legislature would have cared. Are the doubts that the interpreter has identified the sorts of doubts that would have troubled legislators, or would legislators have been likely to press ahead regardless (hoping, perhaps, that courts would resolve the doubts in favor of the statute’s constitutionality)?