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Irving Robert Kaufman (June 24, 1910 – February 1, 1992) was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Irving Kaufman
Judge Irving R. Kaufman (1983).jpg
Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
July 1, 1987 – February 1, 1992
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
1973–1980
Preceded byHenry Friendly
Succeeded byWilfred Feinberg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
September 22, 1961 – July 1, 1987
Appointed byJohn F. Kennedy
Preceded bySeat established by 63 Stat. 493
Succeeded byJohn M. Walker Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
October 21, 1949 – September 22, 1961
Appointed byHarry S. Truman
Preceded bySeat established by 75 Stat. 80
Succeeded byJohn Matthew Cannella
Personal details
Born
Irving Robert Kaufman

(1910-06-24)June 24, 1910
New York City, New York
DiedFebruary 1, 1992(1992-02-01) (aged 81)
New York City, New York
EducationFordham University School of Law (LL.B.)

Contents

Education and careerEdit

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, Kaufman received a Bachelor of Laws from Fordham University School of Law in 1931. He was Jewish, but earned the nickname "Pope Kaufman" for his achievement in the required Christian doctrine classes at Fordham, a Catholic school.[1] He entered private practice of law in New York City from 1932 to 1935. He was a Special Assistant United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York from 1935 to 1939. He returned to private practice in New York City from 1940 to 1949. He was an Assistant United States Attorney from 1939 to 1940. He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States from 1947 to 1948.[2]

Federal judicial serviceEdit

Kaufman received a recess appointment from President Harry S. Truman on October 21, 1949, to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, to a new seat created by 63 Stat. 493. He was nominated to the same seat by President Truman on January 5, 1950. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 4, 1950, and received his commission on April 7, 1950. His service was terminated on September 22, 1961, due to elevation to the Second Circuit.[2]

Kaufman was nominated by President John F. Kennedy on September 14, 1961, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to a new seat created by 75 Stat. 80. He was confirmed by the Senate on September 21, 1961, and received his commission on September 22, 1961. He served as Chief Judge from 1973 to 1980. He assumed senior status on July 1, 1987. His service was terminated on February 1, 1992, due to his death.[2]

Honor and deathEdit

On October 7, 1987, Kaufman was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.[3] He died on February 1, 1992 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan of pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old.[4]

Notable casesEdit

  • Kaufman is best remembered as the judge who presided over the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and imposed their controversial death sentences. Roy Cohn, one of the prosecutors in the case, claimed in his autobiography that his influence led to Kaufman's being appointed to the case, and that Kaufman had imposed the death penalty on Cohn's personal advice. This claim has not been verified, although it has been shown that after Kaufman learned that the FBI and Justice Department opposed death penalties in the case, he asked the prosecution to withhold its recommendation before issuing his death sentence. In his summing up Judge Irving Kaufman was considered by many to have been highly subjective: "Judge Kaufman tied the crimes the Rosenbergs were being accused of to their ideas and the fact that they were sympathetic to the Soviet Union. He stated that they had given the atomic bomb to the Russians, which had triggered Communist aggression in Korea resulting in over 50,000 American casualties. He added that, because of their treason, the Soviet Union was threatening America with an atomic attack and this made it necessary for the United States to spend enormous amounts of money to build underground bomb shelters." [5] Kaufman said that he had gone to synagogue to pray before issuing his death sentence; this enraged Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, who later wrote to judge Learned Hand, "I despise a judge who feels God told him to impose a death sentence," and also told Hand that he was "mean enough" to stay on the court long enough to prevent Kaufman from having a chance to take Frankfurter's place in the so-called "Jewish seat" on the Court.[4][6]
  • Kaufman was the trial judge in the Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, Inc. case that established the legal precedent for the right to parody.
  • Kaufman presided over the jury trial in the federal government's conspiracy case against twenty-one of the Apalachin meeting delegates. The guilty verdicts of twenty of the men, and the stiff sentences Kaufman meted out, were later reversed and invalidated by the Court of Appeals.
  • Kaufman presided over the three-judge appeals court panel reviewing the deportation of John Lennon and rejected the government's attempt to deport him from the United States to the United Kingdom based upon his having pleaded guilty in England to possession of hashish. After a widely publicized argument, Kaufman found that Lennon had been singled out for deportation for political reasons, allowed him to remain in the United States on what some observers characterized as a technicality, and criticized what he called the "labyrinthine provisions of the Immigration and Naturalization Act."
  • Judge Kaufman also wrote an opinion in the case of Filártiga v. Peña-Irala, 630 F.2d 876 (2d Cir. 1980). The case opened U.S. courts to foreigners who were tortured in other countries. The case has had a wide-ranging impact on human rights and the role of corporations and their foreign operations.
  • Judge Kaufman wrote an opinion in the case of United States v. Freeman 357 F.2d 606 (2d Cir. 1966). The judgment over-turned the rigid M'Naghten standard for insanity defense and adopted the modern insanity defense described in Section 4.01 of Model Penal Code developed by the American Law Institute. The judgment embraced advances in psychiatry and emphatically rejected the M'Naghten test by stating that, "the outrage of a frightened Queen has for far too long caused us to forego the expert guidance that modern psychiatry is able to provide."
  • Kaufman was the chief judge in the decision (Coniglio v. Highwood Services, 1974) that prevents Professional Football fans from gaining redress against the NFL's policy requiring them to purchase seats for exhibition games at regular-season prices in order to qualify for season tickets.[7]

ArchiveEdit

A substantial collection of Kaufman's personal and judicial papers is archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., but is not yet fully open for research.[citation needed]

Kaufman had been known to lament what he regarded as the distortion of judicial opinion and finding, as it passed through the filter of the media: "The judge is forced for the most part to reach his audience through the medium of the press whose reporting of judicial decisions is all too often inaccurate and superficial."[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case, (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2014), p. 304
  2. ^ a b c Irving Robert Kaufman at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ Remarks on Presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Irving R. Kaufman - October 7, 1987
  4. ^ a b Berger, Marilyn (February 3, 1992). "Judge Irving Kaufman, of Rosenberg Spy Trial and Free-Press Rulings, Dies at 81". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  5. ^ "Irving Kaufman".
  6. ^ George Anastoplo, On Trial: From Adam & Eve to O.J. Simpson (Lexington Books, 2004), ISBN 978-0739107805. pp. 369-370. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  7. ^ Second Circuit, United States Court of Appeals. "Angelo F. Coniglio, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Highwood Services, Inc., Et Al., Defendants-Appellees., 495 F.2d 1286 (2nd Cir. 1974)". Docket Number: 73-2448. Archived from the original on 2015-06-04.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-01-13. Retrieved 2004-12-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 63 Stat. 493
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
1949–1961
Succeeded by
John Matthew Cannella
Preceded by
Seat established by 75 Stat. 80
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
1961–1987
Succeeded by
John M. Walker Jr.
Preceded by
Henry Friendly
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
1973–1980
Succeeded by
Wilfred Feinberg