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Bluebook Legal Citation

A guide to legal citation using Bluebook rules.

Legislative Materials

Bluebook Rule (21st): 13

Citation of legislative material is covered by rule 13. The Bluebook states that when citing United States legislative material (except debates), you should include the title, if relevant, the abbreviated name of the chamber, the number of the Congress, the number assigned to the material, and the year of publication. State materials are typically cited the same way.


Bills and Resolutions
Bluebook Rule (21st): 13.2

Rule 13.2 holds that you should include in your citation the name of the bill, if relevant, the abbreviated name of the house, the number of the bill, the number of the Congress, the section, and the publication year. If there are multiple versions of the same bill, you can indicate such in a parenthetical.

Enacted bills are considered "statutes" for Bluebook purposes, and should be cited as such (except when documenting legislative history).

Example: Orphan Works Act of 2008, H.R. 5889, 110th Cong. § 2 (2008).


Bluebook Rule (21st): 13.3

To cite committee hearings, you should include the entire title as it appears on the cover, the bill number, the subcommittee name, the committee name, the number of the Congress, the page number of the material cited, and the year of publication. State and federal materials follow the same form. Subcommittee and committee names may be abbreviated according to tables T6, T9, and T10.

Example: Promoting the Use of Orphan Works: Balancing the Interests of Copyright Owners and Users: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, 110 Cong. 52 (2008) (Statement of Corinne P. Kevorkian). 


Reports, documents, and committee prints
Bluebook Rule (21st): 13.4

Citations to reports should include the name of the house, the number of the Congress with the number of the report, the part or page number, and the year of publication.

Legislative reports, like reports from the Congressional Research Service, are cited as reports with institutional authors according to rule 15.1(c).

Example: H.R. Rep No. 105-452, at 5 (1998).

State materials generally follow the same rules. However, if it is not clear, provide the name of the state parenthetically.