(Jesus, quoted in God [ca. 80] 1989: 567)

Paul Gowder:
One of the oddest law journal practices is insisting on a footnote for everything, even the most trivial facts. Like “The sky is blue [footnote: see Looking Up, 2011].”

For a long time, I thought my personal experience with this was the worst. I was once asked by a journal that will remain nameless to provide a citation to the specific part of Plato’s Republic where he talks about education. (Seriously.)

But now I’ve seen the ultimate. The following text and footnote appeared in a law review article that I’m reading for my dissertation, in a major law review (formatting changed in obvious ways).

Indeed, a written constitution may have the force of law.*

* See, e.g., Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 176–77 (1803) (treating the Constitution as legally enforceable and as the highest law of the land).

Yes, that’s right, someone actually felt the need to:

a) cite the oh-so-controversial proposition that constitutions are law;
b) cite Marbury v. Madison as authority for this; and
c) explain, in a journal whose readership is almost entirely people with U.S. law degrees, that Marbury v. Madison treated the Constitution like it was (shock!) law or something!
That reminds me. My niece once wrote an essay for school in which she quoted a bit from the bible, naming the book, chapter and verse. When she got the essay back, something was scribbled on the margin in red ink:
Page number?

No comments: