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Manual of Legal Citation/Statutes, Rules, Regulations, and Other Legislative & Administrative Materials

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Manual of Legal Citation
Table of Contents
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Foreword and Introduction
Background Rules
Rule 1. Two Types of Legal Documents
Rule 2. Typeface Standards
Rule 3. In-Text Citations
Rule 4. Signals
Rule 5. Capitalization Rules
Rule 6. Signals for Supporting Authority
Rule 7. Signals for Comparison
Rule 8. Signals for Contradictory Authority
Rule 9. Signals for Background Material
Rule 10. Order of Authorities Within Each Signal / Strength of Authority
Rule 11. Full citation
Rule 12. Court & Year
Rule 13. Weight of Authority and Explanatory Parenthetical
Rule 14. History of the Case
Rule 15. Short Form Citation for Cases
Statutes, Rules, Regulations, and Other Legislative & Administrative Materials
Rule 16. Federal Statutes
Rule 17. State Statutes
Rule 18. Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Restatements, and Uniform Acts
Rule 19. Administrative Rules and Regulations
Rule 20. Federal Taxation Materials
Rule 21. Legislative Materials
Rule 22. Short Form Citation of Legislative and Administrative Materials
Rule 23. Sources and Authorities: Constitutions
Court & Litigation Documents
Rule 24. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Your Case
Rule 25. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Another Case
Rule 26. Short Form Citation for Court Documents
Rule 27. Capitalization Within the Text of Court Documents and Legal Memoranda
Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 28. Full Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 29. Short Form Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Journals, Magazines, & Newspaper Articles
Rule 30. Full Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Rule 31. Short Form Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Internet Sources
Rule 32. General Principles for Internet Sources
Rule 33. Basic Formula for Internet Sources
Rule 34. Short Form Citations for Internet Sources
Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 35. General Principles for Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 36. Order of parentheticals
Rule 37. General Principles for Quotations
Rule 38. Alterations of Quotations
Rule 39. Omissions in Quotations
Rule 40. Special Rules for Block Quotations
Table 1. Federal Judicial and Legislative Materials
Table 2. Federal Administrative and Legislative Materials
Table 3. U.S. States and Other Jurisdictions
Table 4. Required Abbreviations for Services
Table 5. Required Abbreviations for Legislative Documents
Table 6. Required Abbreviations for Treaty Sources
Table 7. Required Abbreviations for Arbitral Reporters
Table 8. Required Abbreviations for Intergovernmental Organizations
Table 9. Required Abbreviations for Court Names
Table 10. Required Abbreviations for Titles of Judges and Officials
Table 11. Required Abbreviations for Case Names In Citations
Table 12. Required Abbreviations for Geographical Terms
Table 13. Required Abbreviations for Document Subdivisions
Table 14. Required Abbreviations for Explanatory Phrases
Table 15. Required Abbreviations for Institutions
Table 16. Required Abbreviations for Publishing Terms
Table 17. Required Abbreviations for Month Names
Table 18. Required Abbreviations for Common Words Used In Periodical Names
Table 19. Table of Citation Guides
Table 20. Tables of Correspondence

R16. Federal Statutes

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Don't italicize anything in a statute citation. The symbol “§” means “section,” and “§§” is the plural form. The section symbol(s) are always followed by a space.

R16.1. Basic citation form

R16.1.1. Citation must include

A full citation to a federal statute includes three things:
  1. the official name of the statute;
  2. the published source where the act may be found; and
  3. indication of either
    (i) the source publication date or
    (ii) the year the statute was passed.

R16.1.2. U.S. Code

For citations to the U.S. Code (the preferred citation): <Name of Statute [optional]>, <title> U.S.C. § <section number> <(year published)>.
  • The U.S.C. is codified once every six years. Therefore, citations to the U.S.C. should be to the appropriate codifying year (e.g., 2000, 2006, 2012). Cite the most recent edition that includes the version of the statute being cited.
  • Supplements: If you are citing to a statute that may have been amended after the most recent official codification, be sure to consult the supplements, which are published each year between codifications and are cumulative.
  • Examples:
    • Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 387 (2012).
    • Lanham (Trademark) Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051-1141n (2012).
    • Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 223 (2012 & Supp. I 2013).

R16.1.3. U.S. Code Annotated

If the U.S.C. cite is not available, then cite to the U.S. Code Annotated. The citation form is <Name of Statute>, <title> U.S.C.A. § <section number> <(<Name of Publisher> <year published>)>.
  • Note: Electronic databases like Westlaw or LEXIS generally refer to the most recent unofficial code, such as “U.S.C.A” (United States Code Annotated).
  • List of common unofficial codes. U.S.C.A. is preferred.
    • United States Code Annotated, “U.S.C.A.” (published by West).
    • United States Code Service, “U.S.C.S.” (published by LexisNexis).
    • Gould’s United States Code Unannotated, “U.S.C.U.” (published by Gould).
  • Examples:
    • Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 2701-2711 (West 2000).
    • Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, 30 U.S.C.S. §§ 181-287 (LexisNexis 2015).

R16.1.4. Pinpoint citations

To cite to an individual provision within a statute, use the following form: <Name of Statute> <original section number>, <title> <Abbreviation for Name of Statutory Code> § <section number> <(<Name of Publisher, but only if citing unofficial code> <year published>)>
  • Include the original section number of the provision after the statute name.
  • “Original section number” refers to the section in the original act, whereas “section number” refers to the equivalent section as codified in the code.
  • Examples:
    • Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act § 202, 17 U.S.C. § 271(e) (2012).
    • Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 § 103, 17 U.S.C.A. § 1201 (West 2008).

R16.1.5. Official Session Laws

If neither a U.S. Code or U.S. Code Annotated citation is available, then cite to official session laws, using the following forms:
  • Cite without pinpoint: <Name of Statute,> Pub. L. No. <____>, <volume> Stat. <page number> <(year passed)>.
  • Cite with pinpoint: <Name of Statute,> Pub. L. No. <____>, <original section number>, <volume> Stat. <page number>, <page pinpoint> <(year passed)>.
  • Examples:
    • Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-150, 116 Stat. 74.
    • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, § 1101, 124 Stat. 119, 141-43 (2010).
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“Session laws” are a bound collection of all statutes enacted by a given legislature, each volume collecting statutes chronologically in the year they were passed.
  • The Statutes at Large (“Stat.”) is the official compilation for federal session laws.
  • Generally, only cite to session laws if the official or unofficial code is unavailable or insufficient, or if if you need to refer to the historical fact of the statute’s enactment.
  • If the statute name includes the year it was passed, the date parenthetical is unnecessary.

R17. State Statutes

R17.1. Official state codes

You should cite state statutes to official codes if at all possible. State code compilations are ranked by order of preference (in a manner that seems arbitrary); those rankings are available in Table T3.

R17.2. Basic citation form

The elements of a citation to a state code include: <Name of Code, abbreviated> § <section number> <(year published)>
  • Ala. Code § 13A-12-5(a)(1) (2000) (“A person commits the offense of unlawful bear exploitation if he or she knowingly . . . [p]romotes, engages in, or is employed at a bear wrestling match.”).
  • N.Y. Arts & Cult. Aff. Law § 60.03 (McKinney 2000) (prohibiting the sale of knowingly forged sports personality autographs).
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Don't worry about the year the statute was passed—the only year that matters is the edition of the code or the publication date of the volume containing the statute.

If you can't find the official code, include the name of the publisher in the date parenthetical, preceding the year.

R18. Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Restatements, and Uniform Acts

R18.1. Rules of Evidence and Procedure

R18.1.1. Basic citation form

Cite current or uniform rules of evidence or procedure by indicating the abbreviation of the source, followed by the rule number (no comma in between).
  • Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1).
  • Fed. R. App. P. 1.
  • Unif. R. Evid. 601.

R18.1.2. Abbreviations

We do not mandate specific abbreviations, but here are several suggestions:
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Fed. R. Civ. P.
  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure: Fed. R. Crim. P.
  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure: Fed. R. App. P.
  • Federal Rules of Evidence: Fed. R. Evid.

R18.2. Restatements

R18.2.1. Basic citation form

Cite Restatements by indicating the title of the particular Restatement cited, followed by the number of the section containing the material you are referencing, followed by the name of the publisher and the year published in parentheses.
  • Do not use a comma in between title and section number, or between the section number and the year parenthetical.
  • You may in addition refer to a comment by its letter designation if the material you are citing is contained in a comment.
  • Comments are abbreviated “cmt.”
  • Restatement (Second) of Trusts § 46 (Am. Law Inst. 1959).
  • Restatement (Third) of The Law Governing Lawyers § 2 cmt. e (Am. Law Inst. 2000).
  • Restatement (Third) of Prop.: Servitudes § 7.1 (Am. Law Inst. 2000).
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It is unclear whether The Bluebook requires citation to different volumes. In practice, it makes little difference since the section number will direct the reader to the appropriate volume.

R18.3. Uniform Commercial Code

Cites to the Uniform Commercial code take the following form: U.C.C. § <section number> (<publisher> <year published>).
  • Example: U.C.C § 9-105 (Unif. Law Comm’n 2010).

R18.4. Uniform Laws Annotated

Citations to the Uniform Laws Annotated take the following form: <Title of Act> § <section number>, <volume> U.L.A. <page> <(year published)>.
  • Use the abbreviations specified in Table T11; thus, “Uniform” becomes “Unif.”
  • Cite the title of the act in full, including year of enactment where it is included in the title.
  • Examples:
    • Unif. Rules of Evidence (1974) § 702 note 24, 13E U.L.A. 114 (2011)
    • Unif. Mediation Act § 8, 7A Pt. III U.L.A. 137 (2006).
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Judge Posner has criticized the long lists of uniform abbreviations mandated by The Bluebook as a contradiction in terms, since a non-obvious abbreviation (one you must learn from a predesignated list) will likely confuse the reader, and so should not be used at all. Still, we follow the system of abbreviations The Bluebook requires as a matter of consistency.

R19. Administrative Rules and Regulations

R19.1. Basic citation form

Citations to “administrative” rules and regulations—that is, those promulgated by an administrative agency (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food and Drug Administration)—take the following form: <title number of CFR provision> C.F.R. § <section number> <(year published)>.

R19.2. Name of regulation or agency

If the regulation is generally referred to by name or listing the name and/or the name of the agency issuing the regulation would otherwise improve clarity, include it at the beginning of the citation. Citations to administrative rules and regulations that include the regulation name take the following form: <Name of the Regulation and/or Name of the Agency Promulgating the Regulation>, <title no. of CFR provision> C.F.R. § <section number> <(year published)>.

R19.3. Explanatory parenthetical

Include a parenthetical to explain content of rule or regulation where that information would be helpful.
  • 36 C.F.R. § 272.1 (2014) (defining the Forest Service’s iconic character as “a fanciful owl, who wears slacks (forest green when colored), a belt (brown when colored), and a Robin Hood style hat (forest green when colored) with a feather (red when colored), and who furthers the slogan, Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”).
  • DOE Employee Privacy Standards, 10 C.F.R. § 1008.3 (2000).
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There aren’t specific rules for state agency citations—just cite them using approximately the same form as you would the federal rules.

R20. Federal Taxation Materials

R20.1. Internal Revenue Code

Citations to the Internal Revenue Code take either of two forms:

R20.1.1. Citations to code itself

Citations to the code itself take the following form: I.R.C. § <section number> <(year published)>.

R20.1.2. Citations to U.S. Code

Citations to Title 26 of the U.S. Code, which is where the Internal Revenue Code is codified, take the following form: 26 U.S.C. § <section number> <(year published)>.
  • I.R.C. § 312 (2014).
  • 26 U.S.C. § 312 (2014).

R20.2. Treasury Regulations

The Department of the Treasury issues Treasury Regulations pursuant to § 7805 of the Internal Revenue Code. Treasury Regulations are codified in Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“C.F.R.”), but should be cited as “Treas. Reg.” according to the following form: Treas. Reg. § <section number> <(year published)>. If the regulation is temporary, then begin the citation with Temp. Treas. Reg. instead.
  • Treas. Reg. § 1.414(r)-8 (1994).
  • Temp. Treas. Reg. § 1.274-5T(6) (1985).

R20.3. Treasury Determinations

Cite Revenue Rulings (“Rev. Rul.”), Revenue Procedures (“Rev. Proc.”), and Treasury Decisions (“T.D.”) to the following sources, in the following order of preference:
  1. Cumulative Bulletin (“C.B.”)
  2. Internal Revenue Bulletin (“I.R.B.”)
  3. Treasury Decisions Under Internal Revenue Laws (“Treas. Dec. Int. Rev.”).
  • Rev. Rul. 81-225, 1981-2 C.B. 12.
  • Rev. Proc. 97-27, 1997-21 I.R.B. 11.
  • T.D. 2135, 17 Treas. Dec. Int. Rev. 39 (1915).

R21. Legislative Materials

R21.1. Federal Bills and Resolutions

If unenacted, cite as follows: <name of bill, if helpful>, <abbreviation from the list below> <bill number>, <number of the Congress> <section, if not citing the entire bill> <year of publication>, with additional information when needed to distinguish between different versions of the bill in a given Congress, with names of subcommittees and committees abbreviated according to the form set out in Table T5, Table T11, and Table T12.
Select an abbreviation based on the type of bill or resolution:
Type Abbreviation
Senate Bill S.
House Bill H.R.
Senate Resolution S. Res.
House Resolution H.R. Res.
Senate Joint Resolution S.J. Res.
House Joint Resolution H.R.J. Res.
Senate Concurrent Resolution S. Con. Res.
House Concurrent Resolution H.R. Con. Res.
Senate Executive Resolution S. Exec. Res.
  • S. 812, 108th Cong. (2003).
  • Clinical Social Work Medicare Equality Act of 2001, S. 1083, 107th Cong. § 2(b) (2001).
  • ABLE Act of 2014, H.R. 647, 113th Cong. (as passed by House, Dec. 3, 2014).
  • H.R. 1746, 111th Cong. § 2(c)(4) (as reported by H. Comm. on Transp. and Infrastructure, Apr. 23, 2009).
  • H.R. Res. 431, 114th Cong. (2015).
  • S.J. Res. 12, 109th Cong. (2005).
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When citing Congressional legislation, you can include in your citation whether it was enacted in the first or second session of Congress.

R21.2. Enacted federal bills and resolutions

Once enacted, bills and joint resolutions are statutes and should be cited as such, except cite them as unenacted bills or resolutions when showing the legislation’s history. Cite enacted simple resolutions and concurrent resolutions as if they were unenacted, but add an “(enacted)” parenthetical if it would be helpful.

R21.3. State bills and resolutions

Cite as follows: <number of bill or resolution>, <number, or year if unnumbered, of the legislative body>, <number or designation of the legislative session> <name of state, abbreviated as in Table T12.1, and year of enactment or publication, if unenacted>.
  • L.D. 3, 127th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Me. 2015).

R21.4. Committee Hearings

R21.4.1. Basic citation form

Cite committee hearings as follows: <full title of hearing>: Hearing on <bill number, if any> Before the <name of committee or subcommittee>, <number of the Congress> <optional pincite to page number> <year of publication> <name and title of speaker>. For the names of subcommittees and committees, abbreviate according to the form set out in Table T5, Table T11, and Table T12. For the names of individuals, abbreviate using Table T10.

R21.4.2. State committee hearings

For state committee hearings, cite as follows: <full title of hearing>: Hearing on <bill number, if any> Before the <name of committee or subcommittee>, <number of the legislative session> <optional pincite to page number> <abbreviation for the state’s name from Table T12.1> <year of publication> <name and title of speaker>.
For the names of subcommittees and committees, abbreviate according to the form set out in Table T5, Table T11, and Table T12.
For the names of individuals, abbreviate using Table T10.
  • Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2008: Hearing on H.R. 5793 Before the Subcomm. on Commercial and Administrative Law of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 110th Cong. 12 (2008) (statement of Zoe Lofgren, Member, H. Comm. on the Judiciary).
  • Welfare and Poverty in America: Hearing before the S. Comm. on Fin., 114th Cong. (2015) (statement of Dr. Pamela Loprest, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute).
  • Testimony from invited guests addressing the use of eminent domain in the State: Hearing before the Assemb. Commerce and Econ. Dev. Com., 2006–2007 Sess. 5 (N.J. 2006) (statement of Guy R. Gregg, Assemblyman).
  • Hearing on L.D. 319 Before the Health and Human Servs. Comm., 127th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Me. 2015) (statement of Susan Lamb, Executive Director, Maine Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers).

R21.5. Federal reports

R21.5.1. Basic citation form

Cite numbered federal reports as follows: <name of house, in small caps> Rep. No. <number of the Congress, followed by a hyphen and the number of the report>, <at optional pincite> <year of publication> <parenthetical to indicate conference report, if applicable>
  • S. Rep. No. 106-261, at 441 (2000).
  • H.R. Rep. No. 110-803, at 105 (2008) (Conf. Rep.).

R21.5.2. Non-statutory legislative materials

Citations to federal and state non-statutory legislative materials, including legislative history and unenacted bills, aren’t expressed in a uniform manner, but generally include the following elements:
  • title, if available,
  • name of legislative body, abbreviated
  • section number, page no. or number of report
  • number of Congress and/or legislative session
  • (publication year)
  • (if the bill or resolution was enacted). Only include this additional parenthetical if the bill was enacted; if unenacted, you don’t need to add anything extra.
  • Paycheck Fairness Act, H.R. 11, 111th Cong. § 203 (2009).
  • American Clean Energy and Security Act, H.R. 2454, 111th Cong. (2009).
  • S. 2318, 112th Cong. (2013) (enacted).

R22. Short Form Citation of Legislative and Administrative Materials

R22.1. First citation

The first time you mention a statute, rule, regulation, or legislative material, use the full citation.

R22.2. Subsequent citations

For subsequent citations in the same general discussion, you may use any short form that clearly identifies the source.

R22.3. Use of “id.

See table below:
Full citation id. citation for same provision id. citation for different provision within same title
7 U.S.C. § 7101 (2012). Id. Id. § 7102(26).
9 C.F.R. § 54.1 (2014). Id. Id. § 151.9.

R23. Sources and Authorities: Constitutions

R23.1. U.S. Constitution

Citations to the U.S. Constitution follow a simple form, elaborated below:
    • <U.S. Const.> <cited section of constitution, abbreviated> <number of article or amendment in Roman numeral form> <§ and pinpoint, if applicable> <(additional information, if needed)>.

R23.2. Abbreviations

Use Table T12 and Table T13 to find abbreviations.

R23.3. State constitutions

Citations to state constitutions are expressed the same format, substituting U.S. with the abbreviated name of the state.
  • U.S. Const. amend. XIII, § 1 (abolishing slavery in the United States).
  • U.S. Const. amend. XVIII (repealed 1933).
  • U.S. Const. pmbl.
  • Ariz. Const. art. XVI, § 2 (providing for the creation of a “National Guard of Arizona”).
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Perhaps because constitutions are considered Capital-I important, they should never be expressed in the short form except for id.