Rule A.9: Capitalization

A.9(a): In General

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TLR conforms all questions regarding the capitalization of words to Bluebook Rule 8.

Further, TLR conforms its capitalization to that prescribed in various sections and rules of CMOS.

  • Titles and Offices
    • See CMOS 8.19 for the General Rule: In formal prose, civil, military, quasi-military, religious, and academic titles are capitalized only when used as a part of the name. (i.e. President Ryan Smith vs. the president).
    • See CMOS 8.228.26 & 8.28 for exceptions and further guidance. 
  • Governmental Bodies
    • Full names of legislative and deliberative bodies, departments bureaus, and offices are capitalized. Adjectives derived from them are usually lowercased, as are many of the generic names for such bodies when used alone. See CMOS 8.62
    • The same rule applies to administrative bodies. See CMOS 8.63.
  • References for Common Issues
    • For Political and Economic Organizations and Movements, see CMOS 8.66–8.67.

For Institutions and Companies, see CMOS 8.68–8.69

Bluebook Rule 8 and CMOS sometimes conflict, notably in the treatment of the infinitive “to.” In headings and titles, TLR capitalizes the infinitive “to,” in accordance with Bluebook Rule 8. Below are some common words and circumstances that arise regarding capitalization.

YES:Becky Decided To Sue for Negligence.
NO:Becky Went to the Park. 

A.9(b): Capitalization of “Court”

  • If referring to a level of court generically, “court” is not capitalized.
    • EXAMPLES: state supreme court, court of common pleas, and commonwealth court
  • If officially naming a particular court, “court” is capitalized.
    • EXAMPLES: Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.
  • If referring to the United States Supreme Court, “court” is always capitalized.
    • EXAMPLE: The court of appeals, therefore, affirmed the order.
    • EXAMPLE: The Michigan Court of Appeals, therefore, affirmed the order.
    • EXAMPLE: The Tennessee Supreme Court decided Murfreesboro Medical Clinic v. Udom in 2005. The Murfreesboro court addressed the issue of physician non-compete covenants.
    • EXAMPLE: The United States Supreme Court decided Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006. The Hamdan Court addressed the president’s authority to create special military tribunals outside the auspices of military justice and the Geneva Conventions.

A.9(c): Capitalization of “Section” When Referring to a Section of the U.S.C.

When referring to a specific section of the U.S.C. in a textual sentence, “Section” should be capitalized.

YES:As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Congress enacted Section 1983 which provides a private civil action for deprivation of rights. 

In accordance with Bluebook 6.2, the word “section” should be spelled out when used above the line, except when referring to provisions in the U.S.C.

When referring to provisions of the U.S.C., TLR prefers to use “Section” above the line. However, per Bluebook 6.2 and 12.10, it is not incorrect for provisions to be referred to either as “Section” or with the § symbol as long as it is done consistently for all mentions of the provision throughout the entire work.

A.9(d): Capitalization of Title and Chapter

When referring to specific titles of various acts/laws or the specific chapters of laws/books, “Title” and “Chapter” should be capitalized. 

YES:Nor is there any general provision for penalties in Title 10, Chapter 1 of the South Carolina Code—the title and chapter in which the statue statute is located—although other provisions of Chapter 1 do contain specific penalties for their violation, including those sections that deal with recovering the costs of removal and storage for unauthorized parking in state-owned facilities.

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