First U.S. Reports Opinion Not Exactly a Blockbuster

United States ReportsHere’s a trivia question for lawyers and law students.

Question: What was the very first opinion issued in the U.S. Reports case reporter; that is, the opinion claiming that coveted number one slot of “1 U.S. 1” as a citation?

Answer:  Well, it’s a bit of a letdown.  You’d think they’d want to start with a bang, something Marbury-esque.  But no, here’s the first case in the U.S. Reports:

The Lessee of Hyam and others
v.
Edwards

April Term, 1759.

1 U.S. 1, 1 Dall. 1, 1759 WL 20 (Pa.), 1 L.Ed. 11

Copy of a Deed inrolled in the King’s Bench in England, proved before the Lord Mayor of London to be a true one; allowed to be given in Evidence to a Jury to support a Title to Lands in this Province.*

*11 mod. 2 c. 2.

Well, at least it had a footnote.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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