bluebook citation

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deliciouss
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bluebook citation

Postby deliciouss » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:09 pm

Hi guys

I am doing a memo and I am confused about bluebook citation. (Please don't refer me to that stupid book, ya I know that's the bible for bluebook citations but I don't get it)

When I go to westlaw and copy a quote and paste it into Word, it seems to be giving me the citation. The case name is underlined and it's followed by a bunch of numbers. DO I just paste that into my memo and I have the correct bluebook citation?

For some reason, I feel like the citations given by west law are too long. For example, if you look up Ashcroft v. Iqbal, it gives something like

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009)

but for some reason I feel like the correct bluebook citation should be
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)

That's question 1.

Question 2: How do I know when to cite the exact page number and when to not cite the exact page number? reading sample memos, I noticed sometimes they give the exact page number, sometimes they don't.

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rpupkin
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby rpupkin » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:16 pm

1. You typically only need to cite to one reporter. For U.S. Supreme Court cases, you only have to cite to the United States Reports if the case is published there.

2. For 99% of the legal writing you do in practice, you need to provide a pin cite for citations. If I were you, I'd always cite to a specific page or pages.
Last edited by rpupkin on Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IExistedOnceBefore
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby IExistedOnceBefore » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:17 pm

Both citations are wrong and you really need to learn the bluebook to get through law school. You can ditch it later.

Depending on how you're citing it and what your professor wants it's either underlines or italicized. The second cite is close, but you're missing a pin cite. You pin cite when you're taking a quote or an idea from a specific area. You don't when you're citing to the whole case generally.
Last edited by IExistedOnceBefore on Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:18 pm

Answer 0: If this is a graded assignment, be careful about getting help (depending on your class policies).

Answer 1: No, Westlaw pastes are not usually in perfect BB format. You need to check any copy-pasted citations from Westlaw or LEXIS.

Answer 2: Pincites are for citing to a specific part of the source. You don't use a pincite if you're citing to the source as a whole. If you can't tell which one you're doing in any given instance, that's a much bigger problem than your citation formatting.

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pancakes3
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby pancakes3 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:25 pm

Damn dude, if you're having problems w SCOTUS cites at this stage, you need to go hit up your TA ASAP.

foregetaboutdre
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby foregetaboutdre » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:54 pm

If you want what will nearly be the correct bluebook cite all the time, highlight the specific text you want in westlaw. then, click copy with reference (standard). then paste the text in like notepad (and then copy the citation generated but not the text).

run26.2
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby run26.2 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:04 pm

The first WestLaw citation you included lists multiple reporters (U.S., S. Ct., L. Ed.). You only need to cite one reporter. T1 will tell you which one. Here, use U.S. If there were no U.S. reporter citation, you would use S. Ct., etc.

You want to include a citation ("pin cite") to the exact page number if you quote or refer to a proposition within the case. If you are only making reference to the case, then no pin cite is required.

If you plan on drafting documents that will be filed with a court later in your career, learning various parts of the Bluebook is probably in your interest. There likely aren't many parts that you will rely on frequently (e.g., I mainly rely on sections 10 and T6 (I guess T6 really is a thing), because I frequently cite cases). If you spend time now getting the basics down, you will only have to turn to it for odd cases, and you will know where to look. In other words, the time you spend using it will decrease with familiarity.

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rpupkin
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby rpupkin » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:18 pm

foregetaboutdre wrote:If you want what will nearly be the correct bluebook cite all the time, highlight the specific text you want in westlaw. then, click copy with reference (standard). then paste the text in like notepad (and then copy the citation generated but not the text).

As others have suggested, that approach often won't work if the goal is a proper BB citation.

NoDayButToday
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby NoDayButToday » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:47 pm

1. Westlaw often isn't correct. Get to know your Bluebook. The Bluebook has an answer to this question. Look in the blue pages under cases. It's tedious, but it's not hard. If you read carefully and attentively, you can figure out the Bluebook. For memos, briefs, other practice, etc., typically the blue pages are enough. For law review articles, student notes, etc., the white pages go into greater depth.

If you join a journal next year, most likely 60-80% of your work will be Bluebook-related, especially in your second year. When you apply for your summer job over winter break and into next semester, you need a polished writing sample with correct Bluebook cites. When you intern/summer and practice someday, you will need to have at least decent Bluebook form, or risk looking sloppy/lazy. Struggle through it now and learn it now so you're not teaching it to yourself during the writing competition.

2. Unless you're talking generally about a case, you should cite to a page number. Whether a see cite or a direct quote, if you're hoping to direct your reader/fact-finder to a particular proposition in the case, you should cite to a page or range of pages or series of pages. No judge, opposing counsel, or law professor will scour a 30 page case for a narrow proposition you're putting forward if you don't include a page number. Including the page number citing directly to the source page will strengthen your position by directing your reader to the law on point.

foregetaboutdre
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby foregetaboutdre » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:57 pm

rpupkin wrote:
foregetaboutdre wrote:If you want what will nearly be the correct bluebook cite all the time, highlight the specific text you want in westlaw. then, click copy with reference (standard). then paste the text in like notepad (and then copy the citation generated but not the text).

As others have suggested, that approach often won't work if the goal is a proper BB citation.


to be honest i subconsciously remove the unnecessary reporters (and tbh forgot it will cite three reporters) etc... i stand corrected.

however, i will say that doing it this way first will get most of the cite right and will give you the pin cite.

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rpupkin
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby rpupkin » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:13 pm

foregetaboutdre wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
foregetaboutdre wrote:If you want what will nearly be the correct bluebook cite all the time, highlight the specific text you want in westlaw. then, click copy with reference (standard). then paste the text in like notepad (and then copy the citation generated but not the text).

As others have suggested, that approach often won't work if the goal is a proper BB citation.


to be honest i subconsciously remove the unnecessary reporters (and tbh forgot it will cite three reporters) etc... i stand corrected.

however, i will say that doing it this way first will get most of the cite right and will give you the pin cite.

I definitely agree that the Westlaw copy-with-reference feature is very helpful and a great place to start, particularly if you already know the Bluebook rules. But for someone like the OP--who really should learn the basics of bluebooking--it's dangerous to rely on Westlaw.

run26.2
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby run26.2 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:54 pm

rpupkin wrote:
foregetaboutdre wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
foregetaboutdre wrote:If you want what will nearly be the correct bluebook cite all the time, highlight the specific text you want in westlaw. then, click copy with reference (standard). then paste the text in like notepad (and then copy the citation generated but not the text).

As others have suggested, that approach often won't work if the goal is a proper BB citation.


to be honest i subconsciously remove the unnecessary reporters (and tbh forgot it will cite three reporters) etc... i stand corrected.

however, i will say that doing it this way first will get most of the cite right and will give you the pin cite.

I definitely agree that the Westlaw copy-with-reference feature is very helpful and a great place to start, particularly if you already know the Bluebook rules. But for someone like the OP--who really should learn the basics of bluebooking--it's dangerous to rely on Westlaw.

Agreed. WL doesn't know whether you are pasting it into a textual sentence or as a stand-alone citation. The abbreviation rules differ. So, at best, even after removing extra reporters, copying-pasting what WL gives you will only work some of the time.

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Aergia
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Re: bluebook citation

Postby Aergia » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:40 pm

As others have said, you can't really get away from learning the basics of bluebooking and becoming somewhat familiar with the book. I would recommend searching online for some guides. I found that really helpful before getting into using the book itself. My legal writing class never really explained the basics and I remember halfway through thinking, "wait, what the hell is a reporter?"




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