Lewis died at home in Cambridge, Mass., of renal and heart failure Monday, his wife, Margaret H. Marshall, told the Times.
A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who served as Times bureau chief in Washington, D.C., and London, Lewis had many more students than just those who passed through his classroom at the Columbia University School of Journalism, where he specialized in teaching the First Amendment.
“He brought context to the law,” Ronald K. L. Collins, a scholar at the University of Washington who compiled a bibliography of Lewis’s work, told the Times.
“He had an incredible talent in making the law not only intelligible but also in making it compelling.”
Lewis's 1963 Pulitzer, his second, was in recognition of his "distinguished reporting of the proceedings of the United States Supreme Court during the year, with particular emphasis" on Baker v. Carr, in which federal courts were granted oversight of legislative districting.
He wrote a number of books, including several seminal accounts of important moments in the history of the court he covered.
“There must have been tens of thousands of college students who got [Lewis's book "Gideon's Trumpet"] as a graduation gift before going off to law school,” said Yale Kamisar, a criminal law expert. "Gideon's Trumpet" chronicles Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the right of the poor to be provided a lawyer was affirmed. Lewis also wrote "Make No Law," a celebrated account of the landmark New York Times v. Sullivan, which required libel cases to include proof of "actual malice."
Lewis was born in New York City on March 27, 1927. He graduated from Harvard in 1948 and worked for the Times, the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign in 1952 and the Washington Daily News, where he won his first Pulitzer in 1955.
Lewis has three children by his first wife, Linda J. Rannells, and seven grandchildren. He married Marshall, a former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in 1984.