Authoritative interpretation (AI) is an interpretation of The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that carries the authority of the General Assembly and is binding on the councils of the church. According to G-6.02 in the Book of Order, these interpretations are made:
- by the action of a General Assembly upon the advice of the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (ACC), or,
- through a decision of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly in deciding a remedial or disciplinary case.
- The most recent interpretation of a provision of the Book of Order shall be binding.
A request for an authoritative interpretation must be submitted to the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly in writing at least 120 days before the convening of the next session of the General Assembly. The Stated Clerk is required to refer all such questions to the Advisory Committee on the Constitution (G-6.02).
The ACC considers each such request and determines whether it has already been answered by previous actions of the General Assembly. If it appears to present a new question, the ACC will research the relevant background and prepare a recommendation for submission to the General Assembly. Recommendations of the advisory committee have no authority until they have been adopted by the General Assembly (G-6.02).