UH Law Library's Blog

October 15, 2009

Bluebook Tips: When “State of” Is a Party in a Case

Filed under: Bluebook, Tips — Tags: — uhlawlibrary @ 4:23 pm

Bluebook Rule 10.2.1(f) Geographical terms.

When one of the parties to a case begins with 1) “State of,” 2) “Commonwealth of,” or 3) “People of,” use  1) State, 2) Commonwealth, or 3) People when citing decisions to state-reported cases.  Thus, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes Commonwealth in the Atlantic Reporter or in a Pennsylvania state reporter.

Say the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, then Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes Pennsylvania when it is reported in U.S. Reports.

The thing to remember for this rule is when the court or jurisdiction of the case can be easily deciphered from the citation, there is no need to use the geographical term in the case name.  Thus, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes Commonwealth in A.2d citations because the court must be specified in the parenthetical with the date.  And Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes Pennsylvania in U.S. citations because U.S. Reports only reports decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and the party would be ambiguous simply as “Commonwealth.”

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