Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Richard Posner's anti-Bluebook broadside

"There is an argument for a uniform understanding of signals of case authority (such as “accord,” “see,” “see also,” “cf.,” “but see,” “contra”), and The Bluebook offers a set of definitions. In fact there is little uniformity in the use of the signals by law clerks and other legal writers. The Bluebook’s effort is unobjectionable and takes up little space, so I am not disposed to criticize it. But what is the point of such rules as that “[i]n law review footnotes, a short form for a case may be used if it clearly identifies a case that (1) is already cited in the same footnote or (2) is cited (in either full or short form, including ‘id.’) in one of the preceding five footnotes. Otherwise a full citation is required. This reads like a parody, but is not. There are more than 150 pages of such 'rules.'"

The rest is available here.

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