Blue Book Legal Citation Format

Federal Law

    Federal District Court

       
      General Format
      Petitioner v. Respondent, volume# F.Supp. page# (district court, year)

      Examples

      Glover v. Johnson, 478 F.Supp. 1075 (E.D.Mich.1979)

      Smith v. Bounds, 657 F.Supp. 1327 (E.D.N.C.1986)

      Cepulonis v. Fair, 563 F.Supp. 659 (D.Mass.1983)
       
       

    Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

       
      General Format
      note: Appellee v. Appellant are used in the court of appeals. This means that the parties to the original case may be transposed. Thus, a case that started Bounds v. Smith may be reported as Smith v. Bounds in the Court of Appeals reporter.

      Appellee v. Appellant, volume# F.3d page# (circuit court, year)

      Examples

      Glover v. Johnson, 75 F.3d 264 (6thCir.1996)

      Smith v. Bounds, 841 F.2d 77 (4thCir.1988)

      Cepulonis v. Fair, 732 F.2d 1 (1stCir.1984)
       

    U.S. Supreme Court

       
      General Format

      Petitioner v. Respondent, volume# U.S. page# (year)

      Examples

      Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987)

         
        The U.S. Reporter is the preferred cite, but sometimes it is useful to use an alternate cite.  West Law produces the Supreme Court Reporter.  The alternate citation format is:

      Turner v. Safley, 107 S.Ct. 2254 (1987)

         
        Both citations refer to the same case.

      Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18 (1981

         
        Another case using the U.S. Reporter