Friday, 28 January 2011

Judge Posner pans the Bluebook

Judge Richard Posner has published a scathing  review of the latest (19th) edition of the Bluebook (12 page pdf) in the most recent Yale Law Journal. The review begins "Nowadays the word “hypertrophy” is used mainly to denote a class of  diseases in which an organ grows to an abnormal size because of the uncontrolled growth of the cells that constitute it. But the word is still used occasionally to denote a structure or activity that has grown far beyond any apparent functional needThe Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation exemplifies hypertrophy in the anthropological sense. It is a monstrous growth, remote from the functional need for legal citation forms, that serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture." 
He goes on to say that the first edition of the Bluebook (26 page pdf, with large font), published in 1926, was just 26 pages long; by the time Judge Posner was in law school in 1958, using the 10th edition, it was 124 pages long; and in the 52 years since it has grown by 400 percent.
If the Bluebook has ever caused you misery you will enjoy this review. 

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