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APA Style

Legal References Elements

A case or court decision includes:

  • Title or name of the case.
    • Usually listed as one party versus another
    • Use "v." between parties' names, for example, Brown v. Board of Education
  • Case citation.
    • The volume and page number of a reporter.
    • The decision for Brown v. Board of Education appears in Volume 347 of the United States Reports on page 483. The case citation is 347 U.S. 483.
  • Jurisdiction of the court. 
    • The exact level and location of the court. For example, Florida District Court of Appeals is abbreviated Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 
  • The year of the decision
  • URL
    • Where you found the case online.
    • This is optional but helps your reader retrieve the information. 

Citing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

The Declaration does not need to be included in your works cited page and can be referenced in your paper along with the paragraph being cited. Ex: "... in the Declaration of Independence para. 2 (U.S. 1776)."

Format:
U.S. Const. amend. xxx. Or : U.S. Const. art. xxx, § x.

Example (4th Amendment of the Constitution):
U.S. Const. amend. IV.

In-text citation: (U.S. Const. amend. IV).

Narrative: Amendment IV to the U.S. Constitution...

United States Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions are published in the United States Reports (abbreviated U.S.). Cite the Supreme Court decision as published in the United States Reports whenever possible; cite the Supreme Court Reporter for cases not yet published in the United States Reports.

  • Include both the volume number of the United States Reports and the page number if available (at the time of this writing page numbers are only available for decisions published before 2015). Use three underscores instead of a page number in the reference entry. 
  • To find case citations for U.S. Supreme Court decisions go to Oyez.org

General Format:

Name v. Name, Volume U.S. Page (Year). URL

In-text citation: (Name v. Name, Year)

Examples:

Burnwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 573 U.S. 682 (2014). https://www.oyez.org/cases/2013/13-354

In-text citation: (Burnell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 2014)

Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 584 U.S. ___ (2018). https://www.oyez.org/cases/2017/16-111

In-text citation: (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 2018). 

U.S. District Court

Decisions from the U.S. District Court are published in the Federal Supplements

Name v. Name, Volume F. Supp. Page (Court Year). URL

In-text citation: (Name v. Name, Year)

Example:

Panetti v. Drake, 401 F. Supp. 2d 702 (W.D. Tex. 2004). https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/401/702/2500384/

In-text citation: (Panetti v. Drake, 2004)

U.S. Circuit Court

Decisions from the U.S. Circuit Court are published in the Federal Reporter.

Name v. Name, Volume F. [or F.2d, F.3d] Page (Court Year). URL

In-text citation: (Name v. Name, Year)

Example:

McBride v. Maass, 28 F.3d 107 (9th Cir. 1994). https://openjurist.org/28/f3d/107/mcbride-v-maass

In-text citation: (McBride v. Maass, 1994)

State Court Decisions

Name v. Name, Volume Reporter Page (Court Year). URL

In-text citation: (Name v. Name, Year)

Example:

Bridges v. State, 863 So. 2d 366 (Fla. Dist Ct. App. 2003). https://casetext.com/case/bridges-v-state-37

In-text citation: (Bridges v. State, 2003)

 

Statutes

General Format

The official name of the act. | Section symbol  | U.S.C. Title Number | Abbreviation of code cited

Example of Federal Statute

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. § 102, 42 U.S.C. § 4332.

Example of State Statute

Consumer Credit Code, Okla. Stat. tit. 14A, § 6-203 (1996).