Note on law citations

Real Cases: Legal cases are cited as


[case name] [volume #] [court] [beginning page], [citation page] ([year])


When citing the case as a whole there is no citation page; so, e.g.,


Butler v Perry, 240 US 328 (1916)


identifies the case Butler v Perry, volume 240 of United States (Supreme Court) reports, case beginning on page 328. Or


Robison v Miner, 68 Mich 549 (1888)


refers to Robison v Miner of the Michigan Supreme Court. An exact quote from an opinion would be


United States v Reese, 92 US 214, 232 (1876), Cliford, J., dissenting


the quote beginning on page 232 of volume 92, the case as a whole beginning on page 214. Unless one is quoting from an Opinion of the Court, the author is generally specified; when quoting from an Opinion of the Court, authorship is optional, but often included. Once a case is cited in full, it can be abbreviated to the most unique party name, or the name most memorable for historical reasons; so the last example would be cited a second time just as Reese without year.


Of course, decided cases are released before being placed in a volume; these are slip opinions, really meaning just slips of paper, and have no true pagination. These are cited as [name] ([year]), with [court] suppressed unless unclear. So Ring v Arizona (2002) is (it so happens) a United States Supreme Court opinion released in 2002. Because final pagination does not exist until cases are released in volumes, an exact quote from a slip opinion must be hunted down. Scalia for the Court, Schriro (2004) tells one that the quote occurs somewhere in the Opinion of the Court, this opinion authored by Scalia, the case Schriro decided in 2004. Since the case has only one party name, it was cited with both parties earlier in the text. In slip opinions, authorship is the only search tag provided. Scalia, concurring, Apprendi says the quote occurs somewhere in Scalia’s concurrence of Apprendi.


The Suzuki Archivist employs which includes most US Supreme Court opinions, Federal Appellate opinions, and analogous State opinions for all 50 States. Unfortunately, it does not update to volumes quickly. So Apprendi, a case of 2000, is still presented online as a slip opinion, although one could go to a law library and find the now published volume. Opinions as early as 1995 can still be essentially unpaginated in the online Findlaw data base. The Archivist avoids libraries as he can, so the obsessive quote tracker will have a hard time in the Suzuki Archive.


Fictional Cases: Fictional cases are cited in the Suzuki Archive documents as well. They are treated as slip opinions and are always undated. So fictional Justice Souter identifies a quote from fictional Justice Scalia’s concurrence in judgement by


Justice Scalia, concurring in judgement, Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense


As the Archival home page notes, the Suzuki Court exists in a parallel universe, in a nebulous near future sometime after the resignation of Justice O’Connor. The Court always exists sometime after any real event acknowledged. To date fictional cases would destroy this effect.


Fictional cases are, however, temporally ordered, first case in the summary below the earliest, and fictional cases may cite predecessors in that ordering. Nonacs v Selten, Secretary of Defense is the first case the Court decides. The summary of cases in the Case Summary page is updated as (at least) one opinion of that case is posted in the Archive; the summary grows with the postings.


Real events and Books, fictional events and books: Real events and real books are cited by their true date. Again, providing a date implies reality. There will be, however, fictional books, or significant extracts therefrom. Such fictional material will generally only be cited if also posted in the Suzuki Archive, exception reserved for small “excerpts”. Similarly, a fictional Court case will not be cited unless it has been (or will be) posted, although a posted concurrence or whatnot may cite, say, the Opinion of the Court, or a dissent of the same case before the latter are posted.


Of course, each fictional case requires fictional events. Such events may be dramatic, but they are ordered only by case temporal sequence. There can be no new 9-11-01 reference in the Suzuki universe; such events will be labeled, but not dated.

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