Citing Wikipedia — Harmless Error?

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4 Responses

  1. The ” does not cite any references or sources” warning almost certainly postdates the IJ’s reliance on it. It was added on May 8.

  2. TJ says:

    And your student will presumably fire back that judges cite Wikipedia as the authoritative source in the Seventh Circuit. See, e.g., Rickher v. Home Depot, 535 F.3d 661 (7th Cir. 2008). This time, without alternative primary sources–and indeed for a proposition directly contrary to two primary sources that were cited to the court.

  3. Ubertrout says:

    It’s interesting that the other materials weren’t even mentioned (despite the coverage of this case, it’s clear that Wikipedia wasn’t the only source cited). While some might see a lazy lawyer, others see a string cite which closes with “See also, Wikipedia…”

    That said, it’s certainly true you should never cite wikipedia for anything but tangential non-legal points (the best example being a passing mention of popular culture). And perhaps ironically, some quick Googling leads to much better evidence that an Ethiopian Laissez-Passer is exactly what DHS said it was.

  4. Jason Richards says:

    Prof. Ramji-Nogales,

    As the author of the article cited by the 8th Circuit in Badasa, I was suprised and pleased that a court of appeals has finally taken a stand against the “Wikipedia jurisprudence” that has infected our legal community. Glad you liked my quote.