Love it or hate it, The Bluebook is an unavoidable fixture of the law school experience. For some, The Bluebook becomes a fond, ever-present companion; for some, it remains a constant nemesis. As you become more familiar with The Bluebook, finding the answers you need becomes easier and easier. But no matter how fluent you become in The Bluebook, it seems to always be full of surprises. Here is a list of some of my favorite citations you never knew you could find in the deep recesses of your Bluebook:
1. Code of Theodosius (T2.34 – Roman Law)
Need to cite the Theodosian Code? The Bluebook provides the form in Table 2.34. The Code of Theodosius was a “compilation of imperial enactments prepared at the direction of the emperor Theodosius II and published in A.D. 438.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1616 (9th ed. 2009). It was later replaced by the first Justinian Code in A.D. 529. Id.
2. Twitter (R18.2.2(b)(v) – Titles for Social Media Posts)
The 20th edition of The Bluebook added the all important subsection focusing on titles for social media posts at Rule 18.2.2(b)(v). If you need to cite to Twitter, you are covered. However, the legacy cites are still available—see the citation for CD-ROMs at Rule 18.4(b). If you prefer your information delivered on Microfrom, turn to Rule 18.5.
3. Northern Rhodesia Law Reports (T2.43 – Zambia, Republic of)
Trying to cite a case from the Supreme Court of Zambia between 1911 and 1958? The Bluebook has you covered. The reporter of choice is the Northern Rhodesia Law Reports, abbreviated NRLR. The currently used Zambia Law Reports only picks up in 1964. The Supreme Court of Zambia is the “highest court of the country with appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters.” T2.43. All of this great information is located in Table 2.43.
4. Shakespeare (R15.8(c)(iv))
To cite or not to cite? Some works are so distinctive that they have their own unique citation. Shakespeare is the only author that is bestowed the honor of a unique citation format by The Bluebook at Rule 15.8(c)(iv). Along with the works of the Bard, this exclusive list of special citations includes such works as the Federalist Papers, the Bible, and Black’s Law Dictionary.
5. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (T3.8)
It is not the Pirate’s Code, but it is close. The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea “lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources,” including dispute resolution through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. For citing tribunal decisions, use the International Law of the Sea Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders, ITLOS Rep., found at T3.8.
6. Colloquia (R16.7.3 – Symposia, Colloquia, and Surveys)
Merriam-Webster defines colloquium as “a usually academic meeting at which specialists deliver addresses on a topic or on related topics and then answer questions relating to them.” Need to cite one? Symposia, colloquia, and surveys can be cited according to Rule 16.7.3.
7. Dep’t of Agriculture Administrative Decisions (T1.2 – Federal Administrative and Executive Materials)
How do you cite to Agriculture Decisions – the “official publication by the Secretary of Agriculture that consists of decisions and orders issued in adjudicatory proceedings conducted for the Department under various statutes and regulations”? Look to Table 1.2.
8. Navajo Nation Code Annotated (T1.4 – Other United States Jurisdictions, Navajo Nation)
Along with the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico among other non-state jurisdictions, Table 1.4 provides the proper form to cite the Navajo Nation’s Code.
9. Globe (R13.5 – Legislative Materials, Debates)
If you think the debates of yester year were more honorable and constructive than in today’s congress, you may need to support your position by citing to the congressional debates between 1837 and 1873 in the Congressional Globe. For a host of more modern legislative materials, see Rule 13.
10. The Bluebook (R15.8(c)(v))
The Bluebook would not be complete without a citation format for The Bluebook itself. With Rule 15.8(v) you can cite to any of The Bluebook’s 20 versions. If you need an in-depth study of The Bluebook’s past, may I recommend Fred R. Shapiro & Julie Graves Krishnaswami, Article, The Secret History of the Bluebook, 100 Minn. L. Rev. 1563 (2016). If you find yourself north of the border, The Bluebook provides a citation to the McGill Law Journal, Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (6th ed. 2006) at Table 2.6.
These citations’ formats may not be your most frequently used, but the better you get to know your Bluebook the more second nature applying the proper legal citation conventions will become. (For more useful legal writing tips, see Law School Toolbox’s collection of Legal Research & Writing resources.) Mastering The Bluebook can be a frustrating endeavor, but every now and then, spend some time exploring your Bluebook and discovering your favorite Bluebook oddity!
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