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Law Library News for March 6, 2000

Mary Whisner, editor

Law Library News Archive

 

Beating the Bluebook Blues

by Simon Canick, Law Librarianship Intern

Your paper is due tomorrow morning, and you�ve finally finished writing. You want to get some sleep but your citations are a mess, and it�s going to take forever to whip them into shape. Bluebooking can be such a drag! Luckily there are resources available to help make sense of The Bluebook, and some will even do the work for you!

A terrific place to start is Bieber�s Dictionary of Legal Citations (KF246.B45 1997 at Reference Office and Reserve). This hardback volume lists thousands of legal publications and provides examples of citations to each. Titles range from the National Reporter System, to law reviews, treatises, and Restatements. If, for example, you�re interested in seeing a properly bluebooked citation to Standard Federal Tax Reporter (a looseleaf service), you can do that with Bieber�s. Another advantage is that Bieber�s includes The Bluebook (sixteenth edition) in its entirety as an appendix, so you need not go back and forth between different volumes. Some may choose to buy Bieber�s instead of The Bluebook for this very reason -- it�s available at amazon.com for $39.95.

Another useful resource is Alan Dworsky�s User�s Guide to the Bluebook (KF245.D853 1996 at Reserve). This short guide provides clear explanations of the most important Bluebook rules, including those for citing cases, statutes, administrative rules, books, and law review articles.

The Internet can help you in your time of bluebooking need as well. Check out Peter Martin�s helpful legal citation website, http://wwwsecure.law.cornell.edu/citation/citation.table.html). It traces The Bluebook and provides good explanations and examples. Gallagher�s own site has a page with a helpful list of legal and general writing guides.

If you just can�t tolerate another second with The Bluebook, you might consider Cite-Right from LEXIS. Cite-Right is a commercially available program that will read your document and make sure that all its citations conform to Bluebook rules. Cite-Right is available to law students for $10. To order, call LEXIS at (800) 511-1439.

History of the Federal Judiciary

The Federal Judicial Center has a cool new website, History of the Federal Judiciary, http://air.fjc.gov/history/index_frm.html.

A database of all the federal judges who have ever served lets you look up biographical information about present or past judges. Ever wonder where Judge Farris went to law school? University of Washington. When did Charles Evans Hughes serve on the Supreme Court? Twice: 1910-16 and 1930-41 (senior status, 1941-48).

You can also search the database by various criteria, such as race, sex, and date appointed. How many African American women have been appointed by Republicans? Click. Three. How many by Democrats? Twenty. How many federal judges have terminated their appointments because of impeachment and conviction? Seven. How many because of death? 1214. How many women have been appointed since January 1, 1990? 123. How many men? 365. Isn�t this a fun database?

"Topics in Judicial History" gives us trivia -- e.g., Oldest Judges, Youngest Judges, Longest Serving Judges, First African American Judges, First Women Judges, etc. Another section traces the history of various federal courts (when was the 10th Circuit established?). The site also includes the text of judicial legislation (that is, the statutes that established the various courts). And "The Historic Courthouse Photograph Exhibit" delivers just what its title suggests.

Latin Tips & Trivia Contest

by Katie Drake, evening reference librarian

Despite a push to replace legalese with plain English, the use of Latin phrases in some courts is on the increase. See Peter R. Macleod, Note, Latin in Legal Writing: An Inquiry into the Use of Latin in the Modern Legal World, 39 B.C. L. Rev. 235 (1997).

Let�s review the Latin terms traditionally used in legal citation:

  • Id. is used when the writer is citing to the same source as in the previous citation, perhaps with a variation in page number or section number. See Bluebook Rule 4.1.
  • Infra (below) and supra (above) are used to cross-reference material within a source. See Bluebook Rule 3.6. (As a researcher, you also see these terms in indexes, referring you to other subheadings within a general heading.)

Test your knowledge of Latin. Match the term to its English equivalent.

1. ab initio a. reason for decision
2. expressio b. from the beginning
3. inter alia c. it is known by those around it
4. jus tertii d. the expression
5. locus e. with the appropriate changes
6. malum in se f. words said
7. mutatis mutandis g. place
8. noscitur a sociis h. bad in itself
9. ratio decidendi i. the right of a third party
10. obiter dictum j. among other things

Turn in your answers to the Reference Office by 5:00 Thursday for a chance to win a prize. (Please include your email address, so we can notify the winners!)