Henry C. Lind, U.S. Supreme Court’s reporter of decisions

November 20, 2013

Henry C. Lind, who as the U.S. Supreme Court’s reporter of decisions for eight years polished and published the high court’s legal opinions, died Nov. 11 in the Aarondale assisted living facility in Springfield, Va. He was 92.

The cause was complications from a heart ailment, said his son Curt Lind.

Mr. Lind served as reporter of decisions from 1979 to 1987. He was the 14th person to hold the position since the court’s establishment in 1789.

His primary duty was to edit and publish the court’s opinions, both in their preliminary stages and, more important, in the U.S. Reports, the bound volumes of the court’s rulings. He was also tasked with printing summaries of the court’s opinions that preceded every published case.

In 1986, with an increase in the number of cases involving pot, Mr. Lind pushed the justices to decide how to spell the word “marijuana” — with an “h” or “j.” Although Mr. Lind reportedly suggested that the court “just use cannabis,” the justices voted to change the Court’s style to the more modern “j” spelling.

Mr. Lind reported the result: Four justices favored the “j” spelling, one voted for the “h” spelling, three cast him as their proxy and one justice abstained.

After his retirement from the Supreme Court, Mr. Lind worked as a consultant for the University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation and was a member of the committee that prepared the Judicial Opinion Writing Manual. He also did part-time editorial work for the information data service LexisNexis and the Supreme Court for about a decade.

Henry Curtis Lind was born Oct. 12, 1921, in Cranston, R.I. He was a 1943 graduate of Princeton University and a 1949 graduate of Harvard Law School. Mr. Lind served in the Army during World War II and the Army Reserve during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Mr. Lind practiced law in Providence, R.I., before relocating to Rochester, N.Y., to work as an editor at the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co. in 1957. He served in various editorial capacities before moving to the Washington area to serve as the chief assistant reporter of decisions in 1973.

While an assistant reporter, he developed an updated style manual for the court and helped oversee the office’s transition from hot to cold type printing.

In 1982, he became founding president of what is now the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions. A decade later, he published and edited “The Long Road for Home,” a book about the Civil War.

He lived in Alexandria and Locust Grove, Va., before settling in Springfield in 2006.

His wife of 67 years, Katherine Walker Lind, died in February. Survivors include three children, Curt Lind of Novi, Mich., Ted Lind of Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia, and Katherine Gilchrist of Burke, Va.; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Most Read Local