Another insufferable Christmas newsletter
Since we’re now a couple of days into Chanukah, ...

This must have been before the Bluebook

I just wanted to share this passage about citation problems circa 1910. The advice in the concluding sentence is just as good today as it was 97 years ago:

The learned counsel for appellee has cited the cases by book and page only, without giving their titles; but, strange to say (about the first time such a thing has come within the observation of the writer in his more than ten years’ experience on this bench), this slipshod mode of citation has enabled the court to find all the cases intended to be referred to; that is to say, the figures (by some miracle) have all turned out to be right, every one of them. As a rule, most of them and sometimes all (by misprint or otherwise) turn out to be wrong; and the court has not the slightest idea what cases counsel had in mind. It would seem to us that, if a case is worth the trouble of citing at all, it ought to be worth the trouble of citing in a way that it will be likely to be brought to the attention of the court; that is to say, by title, as well as by book and page expressed in figures, which generally turn out to be wrong.

Corbett v. Hanson, 127 La. 219, 221, 53 So. 529, 530 (1910).


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