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Bluebook Guide: Bluepages

A LibGuide to the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Updated for the 20th edition.

Bluepages guide contents

For more information on how to cite different types of materials using the Bluepages, follow these links:

White or Blue?

Additional help with the bluebook

Introduction to the Bluepages

The Bluepages at the beginning of the Bluebook (p. 3) aggregate legal citation rules for legal memoranda and documents submitted to the court. They are geared toward first-year law students, summer associates, law clerks, and practitioners.  Unless your professor tells you otherwise, your assignments for Legal Research and Legal Writing will follow the Bluepages.

The rules in the Bluepages are usually abbreviated using the letter B. For example, B1 is the first rule in the Bluepages, it starts on page 3 of the Bluebook.

Where the Bluepages are silent on an issue, you will apply the rules in the Whitepages.  For example, B4.1.1 gives the general rules for citing case names, but it does not give the rule for when a labor union is a party.  For that rule, you would look to R10.2.1(i) in the Whitepages.  However, even when you apply a rule from the Whitepages, you should still follow the typeface conventions in the Bluepages for memos and court documents.

Comparing Bluepages and Whitepages:

Typeface Bluepages Whitepages
Italics

Italicize:

  • Short form case names (ex. Brown)
  • Titles of articles in periodicals
  • Titles of congressional committee hearings

Italicize or underscore:

  • Full and short case names (ex. Brown v. Bd. of Ed. or Brown)
  • Titles of book, articles, and essays
  • Titles of legislative materials
Caps  Large and Small Caps are never used! Large and Small Caps used for authors and titles of books, titles of periodicals

(adapted from B1)

Where do cites appear? Citation Sentences and Clauses

In non-academic legal writing, the purview of the Bluepages, citations appear within the text of the document rather than in footnotes.  They appear in one of the following ways, pursuant to B2:

Citation sentence: to cite support for the entire preceding sentence.

Example:  The law may not block one group of citizens from access to government assistance. Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 633 (1996).

  1. Punctuate like any other sentence. 
  2. More than one citation, separate with a semicolon.

Citation clause: to cite support for only part of a sentence.

Example:  The Supreme Court once declared separate but equal constitutional, Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), but declared it unconstitutional nearly a century later, Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

  1. Set off with commas and do not end with a period unless the clause ends a sentence
  2. Do not capitalize signals