Kaufman, Irving R.

1957 TLS by the controversial federal judge who imposed death sentences on convicted Russian spies Julius & Ethel Rosenberg in 1951

Price: $55.00

Description:
(1910-1992) Jewish US federal court judge remembered for imposing death sentences on convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He was called "Pope Kaufman" at Fordham Law School for his achievement in required Christian doctrine classes at the Catholic school. He was a US District Court for the Southern District of New York judge 1949-61, appointed by President Truman. In 1961, President Kennedy promoted him to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, active judge 1961-87, Chief Judge 1973-80, assuming senior status 1987, heard cases to his death 4 years later. In 1987, President Reagan presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Kaufman is best remembered as the presiding judge in the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and imposed their controversial death sentences. Kaufman tied the crimes the Rosenbergs were accused of to their ideas and sympathy to the Soviet Union. He stated that they gave the atomic bomb to the Russians which triggered Communist aggression in Korea causing 50,000+ US casualties, adding that, because of their treason, the USSR was threatening America with an atomic attack. Kaufman stated that he went to synagogue to pray before issuing his death sentence; this enraged Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter who later wrote Judge Learned Hand: "I despise a judge who feels God told him to impose a death sentence," and that he was "mean enough" to stay on the Court long enough to prevent Kaufman from taking Frankfurter's place in the Court’s so-called "Jewish seat". Kaufman was the trial judge in Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, Inc. that established the legal precedent for the right to parody. He presided over the jury trial in the government's conspiracy case against 21 of the Apalachin meeting Mafia delegates; guilty verdicts of 20 of the men, and stiff sentences Kaufman meted out, were later reversed and invalidated by the Court of Appeals. He presided over the appellate court panel reviewing John Lennon’s deportation and rejected the government's attempt to deport him to the UK based for pleading guilty in England to possession of hashish. Kaufman found Lennon was singled out for deportation for political reasons, allowing him to remain in the US. Judge Kaufman also wrote a 1980 opinion in Filártiga v. Peña-Irala which opened US courts to foreigners tortured in other countries; the case had a wide-ranging impact on human rights and the role of corporations’ foreign operations. He wrote a 1966 opinion in US v. Freeman overturning the rigid M’Naghten rule for insanity defense, adopting the modern insanity defense in the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, embracing advances in psychiatry. TLS on 10 3/4 x 8 US District Court Chambers letterhead, NYC, June 17 1957, to Herman Finkelstein (General Counsel for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), NYC, thanking Finkelstein for again sending a copy of the Copyright Law Symposium which Judge Kaufman will read "with much interest."

Condition: Very good
Type:Letter






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