Jack B. Weinstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jack B. Weinstein
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Assumed office
March 1, 1993
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
In office
Preceded by Jacob Mishler
Succeeded by Thomas Collier Platt, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
In office
April 15, 1967 – March 1, 1993
Appointed by Lyndon Johnson
Preceded by Leo R. Rayfiel
Succeeded by John Gleeson
Personal details
Born (1921-08-10) August 10, 1921 (age 96)
Wichita, Kansas
Alma mater Brooklyn College
Columbia Law School

Jack Bertrand Weinstein (born August 10, 1921)[1] is a United States federal judge in the Eastern District of New York. Weinstein was appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson. From 1980 to 1988, he served as chief judge of the district. On March 1, 1993, he took senior status; however, unlike some senior judges, he has maintained a full docket.


Weinstein was born into a Jewish family living temporarily in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921, and raised partly in Brooklyn, New York.[2] He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in 1943.[3] During World War II he served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946. His duties included serving as deck officer on board the submarine USS Jallao, where he also ran the radar equipment.[4] He graduated from Columbia Law School with an L.L.B. in 1948.[3]

After law school he worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, was a member of the litigation team for Brown v. Board of Education, and worked on the "one man, one vote" litigation of the 1960s. His colleagues included future Columbia Law colleagues such as Charles Black and Jack Greenberg. He was a law clerk to Hon. Stanley Fuld, New York State Court of Appeals, from 1949 to 1950. He also worked for Republican State Senator Seymour Halpern.[2] He was a County attorney of Nassau County, New York from 1955 to 1957.

On January 16, 1967, he was nominated as a federal judge to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to a seat vacated by Leo R. Rayfiel. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 14, 1967, and received commission on April 15, 1967. As a federal judge, he has worked with a number of mass tort cases including cases relating to Agent Orange, asbestos, tobacco, breast implants, DES, Zyprexa, and handguns. He has been known to take on large numbers of cases from other judges, and on one occasion collected most of the unresolved habeas corpus petitions in the Eastern District to bring finality to the claims of many prisoners.[5]

He was also a professor at Columbia Law School from 1952 to 1998, continuing to hold his job as a federal judge. Since 1987 he has been an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. Weinstein's former law clerks include a number of judges and law professors, including Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dean Joan Wexler of Brooklyn Law School, Professor Anita Bernstein of Brooklyn Law School, Professor Marty Lederman of Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Elizabeth Nowicki of Tulane Law School, Professor John C.P. Goldberg of Harvard Law School, Professors Samuel Buell and Jonathan B. Wiener of Duke University School of Law, Professor Michael J. Perry of Emory University School of Law and Professor Adam S. Zimmerman of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.


Weinstein's publications include leading treatises on evidence and New York practice. He has also written a number of law review articles (not included below) and several books.

Individual Justice in Mass Tort Litigation: The Effect of Class Actions, Consolidations, and Other Multiparty Devices (1995)[6]

Mass Torts:Cases and Materials (with Kenneth Feinberg) (1992)[7]

Chapter VIII - Rulemaking by the Courts: The Judicial Administration Division Handbook, A.B.A. (6th ed., 1981)[8]

Reform of the Court Rulemaking Procedures, The Institute of Comparative Law in Japan (Japanese ed., 1981)

Reform of the Federal Rulemaking Process (Ohio State Univ. Press, 1977)

Basic Problems of State and Federal Evidence (by Edward R. Morgan), 5th ed. Weinstein Rev., (1976)

Weinstein's Evidence (with Prof. Margaret Berger), 7 Volumes, 1975–1979, With Annual Supplements, One Volume, 1987, With Annual Supplements

Cases and Materials on Evidence (with Morgan and Maguire) 1957, (with Maguire, Chadbourn & Mansfield, 1964, 1970, 1973) (with Mansfeld, Berger & Abrams, 1981, 1988)

Rules and Statute Supplement (with Mansfield, Abrams & Berger, 1981, 1982, 1987)

Elements of Civil Procedure (with Rosenberg, 1962) (with Rosenberg & Smith, 1970) (1982 Supplement 3d ed. (with Rosenberg, Smith & Korn))

New York Civil Procedure (with Korn & Miller) 7 Volumes (1976)

Manual of New York Civil Procedure (with Korn & Miller) (1967)

Essays on the New York Constitution (1966)

A New York Constitution Meeting Today's Needs and Tomorrow's Challenges, March (1967)

Various New York Practice Annual Publications (Editor) (1960)


The Second Circuit Appeals court reversed Weinstein's ruling in favor of the City of New York (Mayor Michael Bloomberg) against a group of gun manufacturers. The Second Circuit found the suit to be barred under Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). From the decision of April 30, 2008; "We conclude that the City's claim, predicated on New York Penal Law § 240.45, does not fall within an exception to the claim restricting provisions of the Act because that statute does not fall within the contours of the Act's predicate exception. We also hold that the PLCAA is a valid exercise of the powers granted to Congress pursuant to the Commerce Clause and that the PLCAA does not violate the doctrine of separation of powers or otherwise offend the Constitution in any manner alleged by the City." ([1]):

Weinstein presided over a controversial wiki case in 2006-2007 (EFF article):

At today's hearing, federal district Judge Jack B. Weinstein refused to change his order blocking publication of material that would "facilitate dissemination" of the Lilly documents. A further hearing on the issue is set for Tuesday, January 16.
Fred von Lohmann files a preliminary motion to lift, or at least clarify, the injunction against this wiki. The Honorable Judge Weinstein will not consider changing the language of the order until the hearing scheduled for 16 January.

Eli Lilly moved to censor the links to the documents one journalist posted on the free wiki site.

According to a New York Times article published on December 17, 2006,[9] Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers. Eli Lilly got a temporary restraining order from a US District Court signed on January 4, 2007 to stop the dissemination or downloading of Eli Lilly documents about Zyprexa, and this allowed them to get a few US-based websites to remove them; on January 8, 2007, Weinstein refused the Electronic Frontier Foundation's motion to stay his order.[10] The documents can now only be downloaded from public Internet sites outside the US.[11] These health risks include an increased risk for diabetes through Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar. Zyprexa is Lilly's top-selling drug, with sales of $4.2 billion last year.

In March 2005, Weinstein of Brooklyn Federal Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against producers of chemicals defoliants/herbicides,[12] denying millions to those poisoned by the rainbow defoliants, on the ground that use of the herbicide in warfare had been legal under the international law of the time. According to a May 2010 New York Times article, Weinstein entered the national debate regarding child pornography laws by issuing a "series of rulings that directly attack the mandatory five-year prison sentence faced by defendants charged with receiving child pornography."[13]


Weinstein has been criticized for being sympathetic towards plaintiffs in litigation against the tobacco and firearm industries.[14] An investigation by the New York Sun found that big lawsuits with billions of dollars at stake tend to get assigned to Weinstein.[15] According to the newspaper, some plaintiffs, particularly in tobacco and firearms cases state at filing time that their cases are related to other cases that are or have been before Weinstein. This results in their cases being assigned to him as well. Weinstein has been criticized for this practice by other judges including Judge George Pratt and Judge José Cabranes of the 2nd Circuit.[15] Defense attorneys for the firearm and tobacco industries have alleged judge shopping and have long tried to get their cases reassigned away from Judge Weinstein's courtroom, with mixed results.

The Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights organization has called upon Weinstein to step down from the bench or step aside from hearing any further gun industry lawsuit cases, arguing that the judge has become known more for activism than judicial neutrality.[16]

In June 2008, in the case of Adventure Outdoors, a Georgia gun dealer sued by the City of New York, Weinstein was accused of having "already made up his mind about the case, making any trial 'a mere formality.'" Weinstein had decided to seat an advisory jury, which caused the gun dealer to withdraw from the trial in order to move more quickly to an appellate court.[17] The Second Amendment Foundation echoed concerns that the dealer could not get a fair trial before Judge Weinstein and called for Weinstein to recuse himself from firearms industry cases.[18]


  1. ^ Listing from TheFreeDictionary's legal dictionary
  2. ^ a b "Jack B. Weinstein: Judicial Entrepreneur". 
  3. ^ a b Judges of the United States. 1983. 
  4. ^ "WWII Profile: Jack B. Weinstein," United States Courts, June 16, 2014.
  5. ^ http://www.nyed.uscourts.gov/Final_Report.pdf
  6. ^ Weinstein, Jack B. (1995). Individual justice in mass tort litigation : the effect of class actions, consolidations, and other multiparty devices. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8101-1188-8. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Jack B. Weinstein (1993). Mass Tort Litigation: Cases And Materials. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  8. ^ CTI Reviews (2014). Before the Law, An Introduction to the Legal Process. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  9. ^ The New York Times December 17 2006
  10. ^ Press Releases: January, 2007 | Electronic Frontier Foundation Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ ZyprexaKills: Download the documents and memos
  12. ^ Crook, John R. (2005). "U.S. District Court Dismisses Agent Orange Litigation, Finding International Law as of 1975 Did Not Bar Military Use of Herbicides". American Journal of International Law. 99 (3): 710–712. JSTOR 1602315. 
  13. ^ Sulzberger, A.G. (May 21, 2010). "Judge Weinstein Takes On Child Pornography Laws". New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Lucky?". New York Sun. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  15. ^ a b Goldstein, Joseph (2007-12-03). "Judge Lands at Center of a New York Legal Mystery". New York Sun. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  16. ^ "SAF calls on Judge Weinstein to step down". Second Amendment Foundation. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-04. And now the New York Sun is paying considerable attention to the way cases have been steered to Judge Weinstein," Gottlieb stated. "There is enough doubt about his impartiality that we believe it is time for him to retire his gavel, or at the very least, step aside from hearing any further gun industry lawsuit cases. In my opinion, no case involving the firearms industry or gun rights can get a fair hearing in his courtroom. 
  17. ^ Feuer, Alan (2008-06-03). "Bloomberg Claims Victory as Georgia Gun Dealer Withdraws From Trial". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  18. ^ "GA gun dealer made right move in quest for fair trial, says SAF". Second Amendment Foundation. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-03. SAF founder Alan Gottlieb concurred with Wallace's attorney, John Renzulli, that "There was no chance for a fair trial here." ... With a bias like that, Judge Weinstein should recuse himself from hearing cases related to the firearms industry 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Leo F. Rayfiel
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Succeeded by
John Gleeson
Preceded by
Jacob Mishler
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Succeeded by
Thomas Collier Platt Jr.