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Citations: MLA Style (9th ed.)

A guide to writing and citing in MLA format.

Notes & Tips

Documenting legal works in MLA can be complicated, and there are lots of sources that fall under legal or government records.

The MLA recommends:

Nonspecialists can use MLA style to cite legal sources in one of two ways: strict adherence to the MLA format template or a hybrid method incorporating the standard legal citation into the works-cited-list entry. In either case, titles of legal works should be standardized in your prose and list of works cited according to the guidelines below.

Students and scholars working outside the legal profession and using MLA style should follow the MLA format template to cite laws, public documents, court cases, and other related material.

Government Bodies

List from largest to smallest entity/level:

  • United States, Supreme Court.
  • United States, Congress, House.
  • Texas State, Legislature.


  • Court cases
  • Reports (usually delivered as pdf)


Use Quote Marks

  • Articles on government webpages (not pdf)


No Formatting

  • The names of laws/statues
  • Court Cases - use the date of the decision, not when it was filed.

When you have more than one citation with the same organization/government author, use just enough of the name in the parenthetical citation to match it against the full citation.


If you have citations beginning with...

United States, Supreme Court.

United States, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations.

In-text, you'd want to go beyond just saying United States (United States, Supreme Court). When you referred to the other source, it'd look like (United States, Senate). You don't need to mention the Committee in this case.


As a self-contained document, treat like the title of an e-book (i.e. italics) in your Works Cited. However, when referring to it as a document in your paper, do not italicize.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 28 Feb. 2017,

Parenthetical citation: (Constitution).
Narrative citation: As written in the Constitution of the United States, article 3...

Court Cases

On a Website:

United States, Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education. 17 May 1954. Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).


Note: there are 3 publishers in this example:

United States, Supreme Court. Obergefell v. Hodges. 26 Jun. 2015. Oyez, Legal Information Institute / Justia / Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).
Narrative citation: In Obergefell v. Hodges, the US Supreme Court decided...


United States, Supreme Court. Loving v. Virginia. United States Reports, vol. 288, 12 June. 1967, pp. 1-13. Library of Congress,


From a Library Database

United States, Supreme Court. Obergefell v. Hodges. 2015. Issues & Controversies, Infobase, 2018,

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Supreme Court).

Laws & Bills


U.S. Bills and Resolutions

United States, Congress, House. Improving Broadband for Veterans Act of 2016., 114th Congress, 2nd Session, House Resolution 6394, passed 6 Dec. 2016.

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Congress).

U.S. Legislation (Enacted Bills/Statutes) - Public Law

United States, Congress. Public Law 107-296. United States Statutes at Large, vol. 116, 2002, pp. 2135-2321., 

Parenthetical citation: (United States, Congress). (United States, Congress sec. 308). (United States, Congress 2138).


Texas Bills

Texas State, Legislature. SB 563. Texas Legislature Online, 10 Jun. 2019, 

Parenthetical citation: (Texas State, Legislature).


Reports are treated like e-books, not articles, since they're self-contained, standalone documents.

Kan, Shirley A. Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990. Congressional Research Service, 29 Aug. 2014. Federation of American Scientist, 

Parenthetical citation: (Kan). (Kan 78).


Office on Violence Against Women. 2018 Biennial Report to Congress on the Effectiveness of Grant Programs Under the Violence Against Women Act. US Department of Justice,

Parenthetical citation: (Office on Violence Against Women). (Office on Violence Against Women 72).

Government Webpage

"Consumer Prices up 3.2 Percent from February 2023 to February 2024." The Economics Daily, U.S. Department of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21 Mar. 2024,

Parenthetical citation: ("Consumer").


“Energy and Environment.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: California’s 11th District , United States House of Representatives, Accessed 27 Mar. 2024.

Parenthetical citation: ("Energy").
Example: Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi considers climate change to be an "existential threat" ("Energy").