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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation": Explanatory Information

Quick References

Explanatory Information
Parenthetical Info....................R10.6
Prior & Subsequent History.......R10.7
Parentheticals, Generally...........R1.5
Related Authority, Generally......R1.6
Explanatory Phrases....................T8

Typeface Conventions

Alternate Holdings: parenthetical in regular typeface

Quoting/Citing: parenthetical in regular typeface

Case History:  explanatory phrase with italicized court action

General Rules for Case Names

Sometimes it may be necessary to explain the authority being cited. This information follows the court and year in paretheticals and/or an explanatory phrase. Rule 1.5(b) provides more detail on the order of parentheticals. Generally, the order is as follows:

(weight of authority) (quoting/citing) (explanatory parentheticals)

Weight of Authority Parentheticals - Most commonly used to indicate alternative holdings.

Parker v. Randolph, 442 U.S. 62, 84 (1979) (Stevens, J., dissenting).

Quoting/Citing Parentheticals - Used when the case being cited cites/quotes another case. The same rules regarding typeface, short form, etc. apply to the cited/quoted case within the parenthetical.

Zadvydas v. Davis, 553 U.S. 678, 719 (2001) (Kennedy, J., dissenting) (citing Shaughnessy v. United States ex rel. Mezei, 345 U.S. 206 (1953)).

Prior and Subsequent HistoryWhen citing a case in full, give the entire subsequent history and prior history if particularly relevant, abbreviating and italicizing procedural phrases according to Table 8. Additionally, omit the following items:

  • denials of discretionary appeals unless the case is less than two years old
  • history on remand unless relevant to the purpose cited
  • dispositions withdrawn by the deciding authority

Cheng v. GAF Corp., 631 F.2d 1052 (2d Cir. 1980), vacated450 U.S. 903 (1981).
Not: Cheng v. GAF Corp., 631 F.2d 1052 (2d Cir. 1980), vacated, 450 U.S. 903, remanded to 659 F.2d 1058 (2d Cir. 1981).

Cooper v. Dupnik, 924 F.2d 1520, 1530 & n.20 (9th Cir. 1991), rev'd en banc, 963 F.2d 1220 (9th Cir. 1992).

Case Name Abbreviations

Generally - Abbreviate explanatory phrases according to Table 8. Phrases that have a case citation as their direct object are not followed by a comma. Phrases that introduce a case citation for the explanatory action are followed by a comma, which is not italicized.

overruled by
cert. denied


When nesting parentheticals, be sure to close all the brackets. Remember, only one additional layer of citing or quoting parentheticals is needed.