The Volokh Conspiracy » Judge Posner Criticizes the Bluebook (the Most Popular Legal Citation Format Manual)

Eugene Volokh • January 25, 2011 5:32 pm

The article is The Bluebook Blues, published in the Yale Law Journal, which is one of the journals that publishes the Bluebook itself. The review is short (a bit over 10 pages of text) and very readable. An excerpt:

Many years ago I wrote a review of The Bluebook, then in its sixteenth edition. My review was naïvely entitled “Goodbye to the Bluebook.” The Bluebook was then a grotesque 255 pages long. It is now in its nineteenth edition — which is 511 pages long.

I made a number of specific criticisms of The Bluebook in that piece, and I will not repeat them. I don’t believe that any of them have been heeded, but I am not certain, because, needless to say, I have not read the nineteenth edition. I have dipped into it, much as one might dip one’s toes in a pail of freezing water. I am put in mind of Mr. Kurtz’s dying words in Heart of Darkness — “The horror! The horror!” — and am tempted to end there.