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Bluebook Citation 101 -- Academic Format

If writing a scholarly article, you will need to provide correct attribution to your sources. This guide provides basic information on Bluebook citation in the scholarly format. Students writing seminar papers will find this guide invaluable.

Constitutions

Rule 11 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of Constitutions.

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • U.S. or the abbreviated name of the state (see T. 10 and use large & small cap font)
  • Const. (use large & small cap font)
  • Abbreviate any subdivisions per Table 16

Examples

U.S. Const. amend. XIII, § 1.

Ohio Const. art. I.

Codes

Rule 12 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of statutes.

Elements

  • Name and original section number as it appears in the session laws (only if the statute is commonly cited that way)
  • Title, Chapter, or Volume (see  T. 1, 1.3)
  • Code (cite to the official code if at all possible) (large & small cap font)
  • Section
  • Publisher, editor or compiler (unless the code is published by or under the supervision of government officials)
  • Year (on spine or title page if available, otherwise year on title page, and if not that, the copyright year)
  • Supplements (see Rule 3.1 to cite any material appearing in supplements)

Examples:

42 U.S.C.§ 1983 (2006).

8 U.S.C. §§ 1187-89 (2006 & Supp. IV 2011).

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3503.06 (West 2007).

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3503.06 (LexisNexis 2009).

Citing to Online Codes -- Rule 12.5 and 18.3:

The Bluebook requires you to cite to the official code if it is available. If citing to a statute that is available on a commercial online service such as Lexis or Westlaw, provide the following:

  • Title, Chapter, or Volume (see  T. 1)
  • Code (cite to the official code if at all possible)
  • Section
  • Publisher, editor or compiler
  • Name of the database
  • Currency of the database

Examples:

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3503.06 (Lexis Advance through File 24 (HB 238) of the 131st GA, with some gaps).

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3503.06 (WestlawNext through 2015 Files 1 to 10, and 12 to 24 of the 131st GA (2015-2016)).

Session Laws

Rule 12.4 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of session laws. The Bluepages B12.1.1 and Table 1 should also be consulted. The citation should include the following:

Elements

  • Title of Act
    • Use official or popular name if one exists
    • Otherwise identify the act with the date of enactment or effectiveness (abbreviated per T. 12)
  • Volume (if no volume, give the year)
  • Abbreviated name of session law publication (see  T. 1)
  • Pages and sections (if pinpoint citing give the beginning page and the relevant page to which you are citing)
  • Year of enactment (if no date of enactment, use effective date)
  • Codification information (as a parenthetical)

Examples:

Immigration and Nationality Act, Pub. L. No. 82-414, § 101, 66 Stat. 163, 167 (1952) (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. § 1101).

Act of Dec. 31, 1996, Pub. Act 89-685, 1996 Ill. Laws 685 (codified as amended at 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-107).

Act of Apr. 12, 1994, § 2, 1993-1994 Ohio Laws 6546, 6548-50.

Am. S. B. No. 47, 2013 Ohio Legis. Serv. Ann. L-13, L-23 (West) (codified as amended at Ohio Rev. Stat. § 3503.06).

Am. S. B. No. 47, 2013 Ohio Legis. Bull. 24, 39, (Lexis) (codified as amended at Ohio Rev. Stat. § 3503.06).

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