Wheaton, Henry (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Henry Wheaton served as the reporter of decisions for the U.S. Supreme Court and later became a diplomat and a scholar of INTERNATIONAL LAW. Wheaton is recognized for establishing a high level of accuracy, timeliness, and scholarship for Supreme Court reporters. A dispute with his successor, however, lead to a landmark case that had a profound effect on U.S. COPYRIGHT law and public information.
Wheaton was born on November 27, 1785, in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Rhode Island College (today known as Brown University) and then studied law in France in 1802. Upon his return that year he established a law practice in Providence.
Wheaton became a friend and colleague of U.S. Supreme Court Justice JOSEPH STORY, who shared Wheaton's passion for legal scholarship. In 1816 Story persuaded Wheaton to move to Washington, D.C., and take the position of reporter of decisions for the Court. Wheaton agreed, becoming the first paid reporter recognized by law.
Wheaton attended court sessions, accurately reported oral arguments and the written decisions of the Court, collected the decisions, and then published them within one year. Wheaton became the first reporter to supply annotations with the Court's decisions, sometimes anonymously assisted by Story. In 1820 Wheaton consolidated prior Court decisions into A Digest of the
(The entire section is 416 words.)
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