Constructing Early Case Reports

My draft paper on Corfield discusses Justice Washington’s original notes without explaining why he kept these notes. When I do a revision, I will rectify that by showing that he kept the notes so that an official report could be written later. In those days, there was no official reporting system for circuit cases. Washington’s correspondence indicates that he shared his notes with different individuals to create these reports (and not all of his colleagues did the same).

In those letters, Washington was careful to say that his jury charges or opinions should be published verbatim (whether they were correct or not on the law) but the arguments of counsel should be edited to look better. A kind of professional courtesy, I suppose.

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