How many words is a citation?

The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and many state counterparts impose “word limits” on briefs and similar documents.  Rule 32(a)(7)(B) requires that a principal brief contain no more than 13,000 words, a reply brief, no more than 6,500.  Briefs that comply can exceed the respective page limits of 30 and 15.  Rule 28.1(e)(2)’s length limits for briefs filed in cross-appeals take the same form.  An alternative measure, available only to briefs prepared with a monospaced typeface, is lines of text.  While a brief’s table of citations is excluded from those word-count caps, all of the citations in its body, including those contained in footnotes, are tallied.  See Rule 32(a)(7)(B)(f).  The question explored here is: How are they counted?

The following citations are among those that appear in a brief randomly selected from U.S. Court of Appeals filings of this past June:

Clear Sky Car Wash LLC v. City of Chesapeake, Va., 743


Original URL: https://citeblog.access-to-law.com/?p=1048

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