In formal legal writing, the order of authorities refers to the sources which are used to validate claims made by the author of the paper.
The sources should be arranged according to their order of importance, in accordance with Bluebook Rule 1.4.
Standard Order of Authorities - As Per Bluebook Rule 1.4
1. Constitutions, in the following order -
a) U.S. Federal Constitution
b) U.S. state constitutions, alphabetically by state
c) Foreign, alphabetically by jurisdiction
d) Foundational documents of the United Nations, League of Nations, and European Union (in that order)
2. Statutes, in the following order -
1) statutes in U.S.C., U.S.C.A., or U.S.C.S. (by U.S.C. title number, from lowest to highest)
3) rules of evidence and procedure
4) repealed statutes (cite most recently enacted first and continue towards earliest)
b) State (alphabetically by state)
5) statutes in current codification (by codification order)
7) rules of evidence and procedure
8) repealed statutes (cite most recently enacted first and continue towards earliest)
c) Foreign (alphabetically by jurisdiction)
9) codes or statutes in current codification (by order in codification)
11) repealed statutes (cite most recently enacted first and continue towards earliest)
3. Treaties and other international agreements -
* See 1(d) above for the foundational documents excluded here.
4. Cases, in the following order -
1) U.S. Supreme Court
2) Courts of appeals, Emergency Court of Appeals, and Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals
3) Court of Claims, Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and bankruptcy appellate panels
4) District courts, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and Court of International Trade (previously the Customs Court)
5) District bankruptcy courts, and Railroad Reorganization Court
7) administrative agencies (alphabetically by agency)
8) courts (alphabetically by state; then by rank within each state)
9) agencies (alphabetically by state; then alphabetically by agency within each state)
10) courts (alphabetically by jurisdiction; then by rank within each jurisdiction)
11) agencies (alphabetically by jurisdiction; then alphabetically by agency with each jurisdiction)
12) International Court of Justice, and Permanent Court of International Justice.
13) Other international tribunals and arbitral panels (alphabetically by name)
* Arrange by courts issuing opinions; prior and subsequent history is irrelevant.
** Multiple cases from the same court? Cite most recent decision first and continue towards oldest.
*** For rule above, all U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and federal district courts are treated as one court
5. Legislative materials, in the following order -
a) Bills and resolutions
b) Committee hearings
c) Reports, documents, and committee prints
d) Floor debates
* Multiple sources of one type? Cite the most recent first and continue towards oldest.
6. Administrative and executive materials, in the following order -
1. Executive Orders
2. Current Treasury Regulations, and proposed Treasury Regulations.
3. All other regulations currently in force (by C.F.R. title number, from lowest to highest)
5. All repealed materials (by date of enactment, with most recent first).
7. Intergovernmental organizations' resolutions, decisions, and regulations, in the following order -
b) Other organizations (alphabetically by name)
8. Records, briefs, and petitions -
9. Secondary materials, in the following order -
d) Book reviews not written by students (alphabetically by reviewer's last name)
f) Annotations (most recent first and continuing towards oldest)
g) Magazine and newspaper articles (alphabetically by author's last name; if not available, by first word of title)
h) Working papers (alphabetically by author's last name; if not available, by first word of title)
* Whenever alphabetizing, use only the last name of the first author listed; if not available, proceed immediately to title.
10. Cross-references to author's own material