On Bluebooks

The newest issue of the Yale Law Journal has a fantastic book review by Judge Richard Posner, a review of the nineteenth edition of The Bluebook. His review is more than a little critical, suggesting that the size of The Bluebook reflects "[a]n unconscious awareness of the limitations of legal science'" which drives the "search for rigor" into a 511-page citation book the legal profession does not need.

"The growth in The Bluebook’s length is probably due in part to the desire, largely financial in origin, to issue new editions at short intervals," he writes. "A grim capitalist logic thus drives the malignant growth of The Bluebook."

Speaking as an editor of a student law journal, I believe Judge Posner to be correct. Just this year, we decided to spend a small sum of our budget replacing all of our old eighteenth edition copies of The Bluebook with new fangled nineteenth editions. Because we needed to know how to cite new internet sources.

I have spent the better part of today formatting our new issue (full of exciting criticism of the individual health mandate!), and the fun I have had combing through footnotes ensuring certain commas are italicized and certain periods are not knows no bounds. I had my Bluebook right in front of me, annotated and worn down from three years of begrudging use.