Part 7 of the Legal Methods Lecture Series By Deborah Gordon
String Cites - Introduction What is a string citation? A list of multiple authorities in a single citation sentence. When do you use a string cite? When you synthesize a rule from more than one source When you refer in your analysis to information from more than one authority
Parallel Citations - Introduction Parallel citations are citations to more than one source (most frequently, more than one case reporter) for the same authority. Consult the jurisdictions local rules to determine whether parallel cites are required.
When to use string cites? Synthesizing sources Documenting a jurisdictional split What about multiple cites for a single proposition?
Formalities of a String Cite Punctuation: use semicolons to separate authorities in a string cite. Short form: use the full citation the first time a source is mentioned and the short form thereafter.
Use of Id. in String Cites You may use the short form id. to begin a string cite when: You are referring to the immediately preceding cite; and That cite refers to just one source. Example: The sky is blue. Smith v. Brown, 25 U.S. 18, 22 (1901). When the sky is blue, rain is unlikely. Id. at 23; Setting Sun Assn v. Rain Clouds, Inc., 244 F.3d 718, 727 (2d Cir. 2009). Never use id. to refer to a string cite or to any source within a string cite, even the final one.
How to Order Authorities Within a String Cite: Begin with any authority that is substantially more helpful or authoritative than the others (if there is one). If no clear governing authority exists, use the order provided in Bluebook Rule 1.4.
Order of Authorities: General Rules General order: Constitutions (and foundational documents) Statutes Treaties Cases Other materials (legislative, secondary sources, etc.) In general, citations within each category are: Federal, state, foreign, international Alphabetical Hierarchical Reverse chronological order
Order of Authorities: Cases Bluebook Rule 1.4(d) Cite cases in the following order: (1) federal (2) state (3) foreign (4) international Cases decided by the same court are arranged in reverse chronological order.
Order of Authority: Federal Cases The most common federal cases are cited in the following order: Supreme Court Courts of appeals Court of Claims, special Appeals courts (bankruptcy, patents) district courts district bankruptcy courts Court of federal claims and tax court administrative agencies (alphabetically by agency)
Order of Authority: State Cases After all federal cases are cited, state cases may be cited as follows: Alphabetically by state Then by rank within each state and Then in reverse chronological order within each of the same ranked courts Example: See, e.g., Mitchell v. Davis, 598 So. 2d 801, 803 (Ala. 1992); Robinson v. Robinson, 914 S.W.2d 292, 295 (Ark. 1996); Bercume v. Bercume, 704 N.E.2d 177, 180 (Mass. 1999); Schuler v. Schuler, 416 N.E.2d 197, 200 (Mass. 1981); Harris v. Harris, 500 N.E.2d 1359, 1362 (Mass. App. Ct. 1986).
Order of Authority: Other Materials Refer to Bluebook Rule 1.4 for how to order all other materials, including legislative materials, briefs, and secondary sources. You may change the order of authority within a string cite by using citation signals.
Parallel Cites - Introduction Parallel citations are citations to more than one source (most frequently, more than one case reporter) for the same authority. Example: Cotter v. Pelligrino, 567 Mass. 25, 31, 449 N.E.2d 12, 18 (1992).
Local Rules Some states do not publish their own reporters so parallel cites are not needed. Some courts in states that publish their own reporters require lawyers to provide parallel citations for each cited case decided by a court in that jurisdiction. Some courts always require parallel cites.
If the Local Rules Require Parallel Cites: The two citations should be separated by a comma in your citation sentence. Cite to the state reporter first, followed by the regional reporter. Provide pinpoint cites for each reporter. Example: Harris v. State, 222 Ga. App. 56, 61, 473 S.E.2d 229, 232 (Ct. App. 1996).
If the Local Rules Require Parallel Cites: If the state is obvious from the official reporter title, omit the state abbreviation from the parentheses with the date. Omit the name of the court from the parentheses if it is the highest court in the state. If the decision is from a lower state court, keep the remaining court abbreviation in the parentheses. Example: Harris v. State, 222 Ga. App. 56, 61, 473 S.E.2d 229, 232 (Ct. App. 1996).
If the Local Rules Do Not Require Parallel Cites: Refer to Table 1 starting at page 198 in your Bluebook to determine which reporter to cite. If only the regional reporter must be cited, provide the abbreviation of the court in the parentheses. Example: Parallel: Cotter v. Pelligrino, 567 Mass. 25, 31, 449 N.E.2d 12, 18 (1992). No Parallel: Cotter v. Pelligrino, 449 N.E.2d 12, 18 (Mass. 1992).
Short Forms and Use of Id. Use short forms for both cites in the parallel citation. Id. replaces only the official (first, state) reporter. Examples: Standard Short Form: Cotter, 567 Mass. at 31, 449 N.E.2d at 18. Use of Id.: In Cotter, the court held that the sky is blue. Id., 449 N.E.2d at 18.