Judge Milton Shadur, who wrote more than 11,000 opinions, to retire

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Judge Milton Shadur. | Sun-Times files

U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur is set to retire Sept. 1 after 37 years on the bench.

Because of complications from recent surgery, Shadur plans to have his cases reassigned over the next month as he works through his docket, according to a statement announcing his retirement.

“Judge Shadur has authored over 11,000 district court opinions, many of which directly impacted the rights of thousands of individuals,” Chief United States Judge Rubén Castillo said in the statement.

“No other member of our court can match this stunning body of written work. Early in his career he wrote a number of opinions as he monitored the implementation of a desegregation plan for the Chicago public school system,” Castillo said.

Shadur was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. He graduated from the University of Chicago at the age of 18 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics, and received his J.D. from the same university in 1949 after serving as a radar officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Before his nomination to the bench, he was in private practice for more than 30 years.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as a district judge,” Shadur said in the statement.

In 2009, Shadur made headlines for giving former Ald. Edward R. Vrdolyak no prison time for his role in a financial scam with corrupt influence peddler Stuart Levine. Shadur said he gave Vrdolyak probation partly because of the “overwhelming” number of letters he’d received offering character references for Vrdolyak, including one from Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher.

Prosecutors appealed, and another judge ultimately sentenced Vrdolyak to 10 months in prison.

In 2012, Shadur ruled that Safeway violated the Illinois Right of Publicity Act when they used Michael Jordan’s name and number in Sports Illustrated above a $2-off coupon for a Rancher’s Reserve Steak.

Shadur’s pending cases will be randomly reassigned as he finishes his time on the bench.

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