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Bluebook Legal Citations  

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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About the Bluebook

The Bluebook establishes rules for citing law sources like court cases, constitutions, statutes, etc.  The rules are too complicated to summarize here, so be sure to get a copy of the printed guide.

Cover Art
The Bluebook - Columbia Law Review
Call Number: KF 245 .B58
ISBN: 9780615361161
Publication Date: 2010
Copies are available at the Library Information Desk (Floor 4) as well as the General Collection (Floor 5).

Web-Based Guides to Bluebook Citation

These sites provide in-depth introductions to Bluebook citation rules. They aren't comprehensive, but they cover the basics well.


Understanding Statute Citations

Statutes are published in books called codes, which present laws arranged by subject.

Statute citations have a volume, the name of the cited code, a section, and a date:

Example: 42 U.S.C. § 7706(a) (1994).
  • 42 = Volume that contains the statue
  • U.S.C. = Abbreviation for the United States Code
  • 7706(a) = Section of the code being cited
  • 1994 = Year the code volume was published

[more information and examples]


Understanding Case Citations

Court opinions are published in sets of books called reporters.

Case citations always use the case name (parties), volume, reporter, page, and year:

Example: Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 318 (1993).

  • Reno v. Flores = Names of the parties
  • 507 = Volume that contains the cited case
  • U.S. = Abbreviation for the reporter
  • 318 = Starting page number for this case
  • 1993 = Year of the court decision

For lower courts, we also add the name of the court:

Example: Curry v. State, 228 S.W.3d 292 (Tex. App.—Waco 2007).
  • Curry v. State = Names of the parties
  • 228 = Volume that contains the cited case
  • S.W.3d = Abbreviation for the reporter
  • 292 = Starting page number for this case
  • Tex. App.-Waco = Name of the court
  • 2007 = Year of the court decision

[more information and examples]


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