The Bluebook® gives us a uniform way to cite to legal authorities. Imagine the breadth of legal writing without a common and reliable citation form to research and locate cases and other sources of law.
Theoretically, each new edition should include citation format to new sources for legal writing, such as the Internet. Unfortunately, every new edition to The Bluebook® does not limit itself to finding new sources of legal opinions and other types of legal writing. Invariably, the editors “tweak” minutiae.
I taught The Bluebook® for many years in legal writing classes and seminars. As the years went by, I began to dread each new edition and the necessary memorization of every new rule that changed already perfectly acceptable and logical citation format. The editors’ propensity to make minor changes to established citation formats made many question the editors’ reasons for their numerous revisions.
Bryan Garner expressed similar issues with The Bluebook®, which he shared in this article from the ABA Journal: “The Bluebook’s 20th edition prompts many musings from Bryan Garner’ at http://tinyurl.com/qbysgbk. Mr. Garner refers to the many minor revisions as ‘nettlesome changes,’ and does an excellent job of explaining why. -CCE