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The Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States is the official charged with editing and publishing the Court's opinions both when announced and when they are published in permanent bound volumes of the United States Reports. The Reporter of Decisions is responsible for only the contents of the United States Reports issued by the Government Printing Office, first in preliminary prints and later in the final bound volumes.[1] The Reporter is not responsible for the editorial content of unofficial reports of the Court's decisions, such as the privately published Supreme Court Reporter or Lawyer's Edition.

The first two reporters acted in an unofficial capacity. Only in 1816, after the Supreme Court had existed for a quarter-century, did Congress create an official post of reporter. It then added a $1,000 a year salary in the Judiciary Act of 1817. The reporter also profited from selling the printed volumes of the reports of decisions. In 1874, Congress for the first time appropriated funds to publish the volumes of the court's opinions; from that time the report was known as the United States Reports and numbering began as if the first volume by the first reporter, Alexander J. Dallas, was number one. The Government Printing Office took over publication of the United States Reports in 1922.

The official title of this officer was changed from "Reporter" to "Reporter of Decisions" in 1953, to clarify the duties of the office at the request of Reporter Walter Wyatt with the authorization of Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson.

List of Reporters

The reporters of decisions are listed here with their tenures and the numbers of the volumes of the United States Reports they edited. Until volume 90, the volumes were also by the name of the reporter and the numbers of those nominative reports are listed after the U.S. Reports numbers. The post was vacant from 1944 to 1946.

  1. Alexander J. Dallas (1790-1800): 1-4 (1-4 Dallas)
  2. William Cranch (1801-1815): 5-13 (1-9 Cranch)
  3. Henry Wheaton (1816-1827): 14-25 (1-12 Wheat.)
  4. Richard Peters (1828-1842): 26-41 (1-16 Peters)
  5. Benjamin Chew Howard (1843-1860): 42-65 (1-24 Howard)
  6. Jeremiah Sullivan Black (1861-1862): 66-67 (1-2 Black)
  7. John William Wallace (1863-1874): 68-90 (1-23 Wall.)
  8. William Tod Otto (1875-1883): 91-107
  9. John Chandler Bancroft Davis (1883-1902): 108-186
  10. Charles Henry Butler (1902-1916): 187-241
  11. Ernest Knaebel (1916-1944): 242-321
  12. Walter Wyatt (1946-1963): 322-376
  13. Henry Putzel, Jr. (1964-1979): 376-449
  14. Henry Curtis Lind (1979-1989): 440-479
  15. Frank D. Wagner (1989 to date): 480-

See also




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