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This essay, for a symposium issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter dedicated to the impact of Judge Jack Weinstein on the occasion of his retirement from the federal bench, highlights how Judge Weinstein has re-imagined the role of the district court judge. Through his judicial opinions, extrajudicial writings and speeches, and his innovative use of the court’s supervisory authority, Judge Weinstein has challenged, and in some cases altered, the status quo in the realm of criminal sentencing. In doing so, he has established a forceful example of how district court judges can use their position to advocate for and effect reform more broadly in the system they are called upon to administer – an example that some other judges already have embraced. In his scholarship, Judge Weinstein also has turned his critical lens inward and examined whether this work is consistent with the judicial role. He concludes that it is, but offers valuable guidance for other judges considering following in his footsteps for how to do so in a way that minimizes concerns about partiality. In the end, Judge Weinstein concludes that such work is not only permissible but required when judges perceive injustice. Few will be as creative, prolific, or persuasive as Judge Weinstein has been. But he leaves behind a fully articulated vision of an active district court judge and invites other judges to consider the kind of judge they want to be given the limits and possibilities that accompany their position.

https://doi.org/10.1525/fsr.2021.33.3.163

Publication Date

2021

Volume

33

Publisher

Federal Sentencing Reporter

First Page

163

Disciplines

Courts | Judges

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