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The Case for Abolishing the Bluebook

I am very happy to learn from Senior Conspirator Eugene Volokh that the editors of the Bluebook are apparently regular readers of the VC. While we have their attention, I hope they might be willing to read my 2006 post where I advocated abolition of the Bluebook and its replacement by a simpler citation system. Here is a summary of my arguments from that post:

The Blue Book…. is the enormously complicated citation system used in most law reviews and (to a lesser extent) legal documents. It is a massive tome, over 400 pages long, with rules for every conceivable situation and some that probably are not conceivable to anyone who has not had the painful experience of reading the Blue Book….. I propose… abolishing this monstrosity and replacing it with a simple citation system such as that used in virtually every other academic field. Here are the reasons why:

1. The Blue Book is an enormous waste of time and effort.

Every year, law review editors across the country spend thousands of man-hours editing articles to make sure that they conform to the Blue Book rules, taking Blue Book tests, and engaging in other Blue Book-related activities…. This time could easily be spent in more productive ways, such as studying, research, clinical work, or even working on your tan at the beach.

2. There is no evidence that the Blue Book improves the quality of scholarship.

There is zero evidence that having a hyper-complex citation system improves the quality of legal scholarship. Similarly, there is no evidence that other academic fields with simple citation systems have lower-quality scholarship as a result. Indeed, the opposite is more likely to be true, since time devoted to Bluebooking could instead be devoted to improving research quality…..

3. The University of Chicago

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