Monday, April 4, 2016
The Volokh Conspiracy: Judge Richard Posner Explains Why We Should “Burn All Copies of the Bluebook”, by Ilya Somin (George Mason):
In a recent article in the ABA Journal, Judge Richard Posner – who is probably the nation’s most influential federal judge outside the Supreme Court – is quoted as saying that we should “burn all copies of the Bluebook,” the standard system of legal citation produced by a consortium of leading law reviews. ...
In general, I am strongly opposed to book burning of any kind. But in this case, I can only say, burn, baby, burn! Like Posner, I have long argued that the Bluebook and its hundreds of pages of useless, time-wasting rules should be abolished and replaced with a much simpler citation system, perhaps similar to those used in other academic fields. It would save lawyers, legal scholars, and law students enormous amounts of time and effort.
Judge Posner laid out his critique of the Bluebook in greater detail in this Yale Law Journal article. In my view, however, he was a little too generous to the Bluebook when he compared it to the pyramids of ancient Egypt. ...
On a somewhat more serious note, Judge Posner has shared with me a copy of the simplified citation system that he and his clerks use in drafting opinions, and has authorized me to post it online. I have done so here; it is actually a little over five pages. I may not agree with every one of Judge Posner’s rules. But his approach is a vast improvement over the Bluebook. It simplifies without losing any of the information a reader needs to know to figure out what source is being cited.