Part 5 of the Legal Methods Lecture Series By Lisa McElroy
Where to Look in the Bluebook When you are citing to a statute, you should look at the appropriate page in Table 1 at 193-242 for jurisdiction- specific information and a sample citation.
Official or Unofficial Code? If possible, you should cite to the official code or its supplement for statutes currently in effect. Rule 12.2.1(a) at 102. Otherwise, you should try to cite to a current unofficial code or its supplement. On the rare occasions when you cite to statutes no longer in effect, cite to the current official or unofficial code if the statutes still appear therein. Otherwise, try to cite to the last edition of the official or unofficial code in which the statute appeared. Rule 12.2.1(b) at 102. In any event, the fact of invalidation, repeal, or amendment must be noted (generally, but not always, with a parenthetical) according to Rule 12.6 at 108-09.
Table T.1 – A Good Starting Point Table T.1 provides templates for statutory compilations. Examples Table T.1: ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. x, § x (year) WIS. STAT. § x.x (year) Practitioner document: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. x, § x (year) Wis. Stat. § x.x (year)
Year of the Code Use the year that appears on the spine of the bound volume, the year that appears on the title page, or the latest copyright year, in that order of preference. Rule 12.3.2 (emphasis added). Thus, the year in which the statute was passed generally is not the year to include in your citation. What if the section of the statute that you are citing appears in a pocket part or supplement? If the statute section appears ONLY in the pocket part or supplement (because it is a new statute), cite to the year of that pocket part or supplement. For example, (Supp. 2008). If the statute appears in both the bound volume and the pocket part or supplement (most likely, because the statute has been amended), cite to both. For example, (2003 & Supp. 2008). When citing to a statute you find on Westlaw or Lexis, refer to Rule 18.1.2. This rule instructs you to include the name of the publisher and the year of most recent update in your parenthetical.
Subject-Matter Codes Some statutory compilations are organized by subject- matter rather than by title, volume, or chapter number. Table T.1 includes the abbreviations for each subject and indicates where the subject should appear in your citation. Md. Code Ann., Environ. § 9-807 (West 2007).
Citing Multiple Sections or Sub- Sections Citing multiple sections or sub-sections – rule 3.3(b) When citing multiple sections, use two section symbols. Wis. Stat. §§ 895.475-895.59 (2005-06). When citing multiple sub-sections within a single section, use only one section symbol. Wis. Stat. § 895.481(2)-(3) (2005-06).
Typeface Nothing is underlined or italicized in a statutory citation. B6.1.1. When citing statutes in citation sentences, use § to designate sections; in text, write out section when referring to state statutes, but use § when referring to the United States Code. R. 12.9(d).
Full Citations to Statutes A full citation to a state statute usually includes (1) the abbreviated name of the code (see Table 1); (2) the cited section number(s); and (3) the year of the code edition cited. B6.1.2 at 15. A full citation to a federal statute usually includes (1) the official name of the act; (2) the published source in which the act is found; and (3) the year the source was published (unless you are citing a session law). B6.1.1 at 13.
Short Citation Forms for Statutes Rule 12.9 at 113 and B6.2 at 16 allow you some discretion in using the short form for statutory citation. While you are still in the same general discussion as that in which the full citation appears, you may use any short form that clearly identifies the statute, provided you are consistent. The table in Rule 12.9(c) at 113 gives some examples of acceptable short forms.
Additional Information Required by Rule 12 Include the popular name of the statute ONLY if the statute is commonly cited that way or the information would otherwise aid in identification. Rule 12.3.1(a). Sometimes used for federal statutes If the statute is published by someone other than federal or state officials, include the name of the publisher in the year parenthetical. Rule 12.3.1(d). Used for all unofficial and some official codes
Examples Examples: 1. Federal statute: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2000). (This example is appropriate when the name of the Act is used in the text preceding the citation.) 2. State statute: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3513.19(B) (West 1994). 3. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure: Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). 4. State Rule of Civil Procedure: Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). 5. Federal Rule of Evidence: Fed. R. Evid. 410. 6. State Rule of Evidence: Mass. R. Evid. 410.