Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rejecting a Citation Example from the Bluebook

The current edition of the Bluebook uses the following example to illustrate Rule 1.6(c).  If you have a current Bluebook nearby, you can find this example at the bottom of page 61:

Milnot Co. v. Richardson, 350 F. Supp. 221 (S.D. Ill. 1972) (construing Filled Milk Act § 1, 21 U.S.C. § 61 (2006)).

It's an odd example, and here's why.  A case decided in 1972 is obviously not construing a federal statute from 2006.  True, the text of the statute may be exactly the same as it was when the court looked at it 34 years ago, but it could be just as likely that the statute has since been amended (perhaps even as a legislative response to the court case that construed it).

Sooooooo . . . . .

Despite what the Bluebook says, I think I should tell my students to keep the original date of the statute when it was construed.  In a separate sentence, they can tell their readers whether the statute has been amended or whether the language is the same.


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