Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States

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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 opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States, 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 Lawyers' Edition.

The Reporter of Decisions is appointed by the Supreme Court.[citation needed]


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[edit]

The reporters of decisions are listed here with their tenures and the volumes of the United States Reports they edited. Until volume 90, the volumes were also known 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 Ernest Knaebel's death in 1944 and until 1946, at which point his replacement Walter Wyatt was chosen. Wyatt retroactively edited the United States Reports for those years, making volumes 322 to 325.

# Name Term Volumes edited
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 Pet.)
5 Benjamin Chew Howard 1843–1860 42–65 (1–24 How.)
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
N/A Office vacant 1944-1946 N/A (volumes 322–325
later edited by Wyatt)
12 Walter Wyatt 1946–1963 322–375
13 Henry Putzel Jr. 1964–1979 376–444
14 Henry Curtis Lind 1979–1987 440–479
15 Frank D. Wagner 1987–2010 480–561
16 Christine Luchok Fallon 2011–now 562–

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "See 28 U.S.C. §673(c)". Retrieved 2008-06-06.

External links[edit]