4 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2015 Last revised: 21 Feb 2017

See all articles by Marc Lane Roark

Marc Lane Roark

University of Pretoria, S.A.; Southern University Law Center; The Savannah Law School

Warren Emerson

Savannah Law School

Date Written: November 10, 2015


Currently, The Bluebook recommends twelve signals that give direction to the author’s intended use of sources. Bluebook signals communicate how the author believes the work cited is relevant to the proposition. But Bluebook signals could communicate so much more. This Essay recommends thirteen new signals for The Bluebook’s next edition. Indeed, this is no love sonnet to Baby Blue, but rather an urging to sample the selections of intention with the pairings of rote form. These signals would provide more than just form, and delve into the author’s voice in selection of authorities and his or her intention when citing a particular work. They may further do away with the need for parentheticals in some instances, making law reviews more concise, or may expand the need for parentheticals, which would also be good. Either way, law reviews prevail as these new signals dictate a further march towards author clarity in the pursuit of meaning.

While these citations may indulge some level of frivolity, we assure you, they are no mere joke. They relate to the way authors perceive the substance of their work, their position in the academy, and the moral equivalency of their place, substance, and words. This article proposes new signals arranged in taxonomy to their function – elucidating substance, elevating status, and un-equalizing moralities.

Keywords: Bluebook, Signals, Revival, Writing, Author, Communication, Substance, theory, cathedral, realism, formalism, crit theory, taxonomy, theory, Kerr, Holmes, Hart, Dworkin, masturbation

Suggested Citation

Roark, Marc L. and Roark, Marc L. and Emerson, Warren, Signals (November 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Marc L. Roark (Contact Author)

University of Pretoria, S.A. ( email )

Private Bag X20
Hatfield 0028
South Africa

Southern University Law Center ( email )

2 Roosevelt Steptoe Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
United States

The Savannah Law School

516 Drayton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
United States

Warren Emerson

Savannah Law School ( email )

516 Drayton Street
Savannah, GA 31401
United States

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