Snappy One-liner, a Colon, and an Explanation: Understanding the Structural Uniformity of Secondary Sources

Editor’s note: Always looking to expand into new fields, the Record has created a new journal, the Journal of Legal Puffery. Have an article you want published? Is JOLT not returning your calls? Send it to us! We publish once a year on the first day of April.

1 J. Leg. Puffery 108a

“This is a quote about how important justice is in the world, particularly as it relates to whichever tiny subsection of American law I am writing about. There is a solid chance I made it up solely for the purpose of making my journal article look more important.”

 – Unknown

In this article, I seek to achieve tenure the only way I know how: articles about obscure subtopics within American law narrow & irrelevant enough than no one else does a better job than me later on.

Part I: A Brief (ish) History of the Subject Matter

Because this journal has a minimum word count, and because I really don’t enjoy doing actual analysis, I’m going to write a paragraph about every single case listed in the “cases cited” section of the WestLaw statute page. Rev up your id.s, subciters!

[Editor’s note: We started skimming here, and you should too.]

Also, remember why you clicked on this link in the first place? You typed in “public official” or “Wingate” or whatever into the search bar, filtered to law journals, and this was the third one down the list? One word is highlighted here, in the facts section of a completely unrelated case. Move on, and good luck!

Part II: Analysis (hah!)

Here, I will do three things. First, I will say that the Supreme Court has not been entirely consistent in this field. Then, I will point out that lower courts have reached slightly different results in cases that are somewhat similar. Finally, I will assert that this is A Problem, and that This Problem should be solved, with My Solution, and by Solution, I mean the holding of the most recent Supreme Court case to discuss this topic, but restated slightly.


In sum, I hope this becomes weirdly prescient through no action of my own and is cited by some lower court somewhere to boost my career.  


a. Special thanks to the 1Ls I tricked into writing this, and the faculty members I tricked into pretending to read this. No thanks to the subciters who told me this was                  “insufficiently supported” and that my sources “didn’t exist.”

1. Come on, you and I both know you aren’t going to look at these. With how Westlaw is formatted, it is a huge pain to follow both the footnotes and the text of the article, so you are going to skim this after you finish reading to see if you find anything relevant, and you won’t. This is where I hide all of the evidence which proves me wrong within “compare” signals. Good luck finding it in the mass of footnotes, of which 80% are id.s and supra note 4s.

Andrew Langen

Andrew Langen is the Record online editor. He is a 2L.
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