American Judges Association



Bryan A. Garner

Date of this Version

October 2001


Published in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association, 38:2 (2001), pp. 28. Copyright © 2001 National Center for State Courts. Used by permission. Online at


That said, Judge Posner’s response here is off the mark (he doesn’t distinguish citational from substantive footnotes, and therefore doesn’t address my main thesis), based on an irrelevant standard (our opinions are short enough as it is), self-contradictory (a judge can always use footnotes to shorten the text), and downright quirky (opinions shouldn’t have a “spurious air of scholarship”). Although opinions may not be scholarship, their very essence is reasoning, and the citations that judges now throw on the page can obscure the reasoning for both the reader and the writer.

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