Obama’s Harvard Law Review Article: More Work to Do On Criminal Law Reform

Obama's Harvard Law Review Article: More Work to Do On Criminal Law Reform

President Obama, once president of the Harvard Law Review, has now published an article in the Review on criminal justice reform.

The proposal for the article reportedly came from Harvard law dean Martha Minow, according to reports in Law.com, the Harvard Crimson and Politico.

“The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform” said his administration made progress in reforming criminal justice, but more reform work is needed. The extent of incarceration in America “is not just not unnecessary but unsustainable,” Obama said in the article.

The ABA Journal reports that HLR president Michael Zuckerman said in a press call that law review staffers put the article through their usual, rigorous editing process, though the timeline was compressed due to the president’s schedule.

Zuckerman wrote about the experience in a Medium article posted at Harvard Law Today. Zuckerman said he has a special interest in criminal justice issues because he was once a juvenile defendant who pleaded guilty to trespassing at the age of 13.

Without a second chance, Zuckerman wrote, he would not be president of the Harvard Law Review and would not be helping publish an article by the president.

In the dying days of his presidency, one of the questions raised about the article is whether the President wrote it himself, or used an academic underling.  The Washington Post raised the question, and posed the answer, too:  Almost certainly ‘Yes’.

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