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Citing Sources Using APA: Legal Sources

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What is the Bluebook?

The APA publication manual instructs us to consult the Bluebook to create legal citations.  It is officially called The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.  It is the source for determining the correct style of a legal citation.  When you are not sure about how to construct a legal citation, consult the Bluebook!

Supreme Court Cases

Roe v. Wade, 410 US 959 (Supreme Court of the US. 1973).  

Laws & Acts

Voting Rights Act, 42 USC Sec. 1971 (2008).


Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act 


           of 2005, Pub. L. 109-162, 119 Stat. 2960 (2006).

More APA Guides

Tips That Help

Follow the style guide – ALWAYS.  This is not the time to be creative.  Don’t agonize about why the guide tells you to do something, just do it!


Be consistent.  If the style guide says to use italics for the title of the book or journal (and APA does) use italics ALWAYS.


Don’t mix style guides.  APA and MLA cannot be used simultaneously in a paper.  Choose one and stick to it.


If you don’t know how to cite a particular source, look it up.  The style guide has thought of nearly every type of source.


Print off the citation of the source you consulted, when you consult it. Don’t say, “I’ll do it later,” or “I am not sure I want to use this source, I’ll go back to it if I do.”  Going back later without the citation is often impossible.