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Cite Sources: Bluebook

Cite Sources

Bluebook - In-Text Citations

Your in-text citation should, as a general rule, point to the name of a document and the year it was issued, while your footnote should include your full reference. For example, you could mention in a sentence of your writing the outcome of a Supreme Court case, identifying the case with its name and year, and then cite the full case in a footnote.

Bluebook - State Statutes

To cite a state statute, follow this basic pattern:

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 14-334-101 to -116.

(This is a citation for title 14, chapter 334, the complete chapter.)

According to the official state style guide, "Cite to the current version of the Arkansas Code unless an earlier version applies, in which case the applicable version should be cited. If the applicable law has not yet been codified, cite to the session laws. If the statute appears in the applicable supplement, cite only to that supplement. Cite to both the main volume and the supplement if both would have to be consulted to view the full, current version of the act or statutes cited."

Bluebook - Federal Statutes

To cite a federal statute, follow this basic pattern:

[Title] U.S.C. § [Section] (Year of code edition you're consulting)

For example:

47 U.S.C. § 227 (2012)

Bluebook - State Cases

Cite cases from after February 13, 2009 in this format:

Case name, year of the decision, abbreviated court name, appellate decision number [if available].

For example:

Tubbs v. Hobbs, 2015 Ark. 99.

Haney v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2017 Ark. App. 437.

Bluebook - Federal Reports

Bluebook provides general guidelines for citing federal reports, whether or not they have a specific named author.

The pattern to follow is:

[Author], [Title] [Page number] ([Editors, if any], [edition, if any] [year).

If a report doesn't have a named author, identify the issuing agency as specifically as possible when citing the report, and then cite the larger agency. For example, a citation to p. 3 of this report might look like this:

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Report to the Congress on the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion 3 (2017).

Bluebook - Supreme Court Reporters

Some Supreme Court decisions are reported in bound volumes which are available online. In this instance, follow this format:

[First party] v. [Second party], [volume number] U.S. [first page of case], [specific page you're citing if there is one] (date of decision).

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006).

Recent decisions tend only to be available as "slips," which are available in HeinOnline and on the Supreme Court's own website. You can cite these too, but a little differently:

[First party] v. [Second party], [docket number], at [specific page you're citing if there is one] (date of decision).

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, No. 11-393 (U.S. 2011).

Bluebook - Agency Regulations

To cite an agency regulation, you can often begin by searching for it in on the page of the issuing body (for example, the FDA or EPA). There will sometimes be a citation to the Code of Federal Regulations that you can use as a starting point.

For example, let's say you're looking for the FDA's regulations regarding warnings on cigarette packs. With a little searching, I find this final rule from the Federal Register, but Bluebook stipulates that whenever possible, you should cite the Code of Federal Regulations. Double-check the Code of Federal Regulations citations available from that page (you can find the CFR here). Then cite the C.F.R. following this pattern:

[C.F.R. title number] C.F.R. § [section and, if any, subsection] (date of edition you're citing).

So the final citation for the FDA regulation regarding warnings on cigarette packs will look a little different from the way the regulations are cited in the Federal Register, because I identify the specific section (of the three cited in Federal Register) pertinent to this specific topic:

21 C.F.R. § 1143 (2017).