Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Posner (Again) on the Bluebook (Again)
While I'm on the subject of light reading, Richard Posner has a new piece in the current issue of the Yale Law Journal. Once again, he takes the Bluebook to task. His points are valid enough, although I question the utility of his having spent more time discussing the Bluebook. As he observes, it has its decent points. As for the rest of it, my view as a writer has always been that those rules -- gramatical, citation-wise, and otherwise -- not worth taking seriously are worth ignoring altogether. Still, there are two nice bits in the piece. The first is his statement, at footnote 9, that even in law school, "when [the Bluebook] was a quarter of its present size[,] I was unable to master it." He reminisces about being "called on the carpet" in "savage" terms by the Law Review's managing editor, shortly before Posner was to stand for election to the presidency of the Law Review, for "having performed a deficient 'technical citecheck'" on a piece. (He adds later, in terms that are none too complimentary in context, that Justice Blackmun "is reputed to have been a positively awesome bluebooker.")
The other is the last sentence of the piece: "A grim capitalist logic thus drives the malignant growth of The Bluebook."
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