In a recent publication for Monthly Review, elder son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and RFC Advisory Board member Michael Meeropol shares an in-depth history of Judge Irving R. Kaufman, who presided over his parents' trial and sentenced them to death.
In the article, Meeropol argues in opposition to Kaufman biographer, Martin J. Siegel, who believes that Judge Kaufman's career took a "curious path," in that after the Rosenberg trial he seemingly shifts ideologically, becoming a defender of progressive values in the court. On the contrary, Meeropol writes, Kaufman's role in condemning the Rosenbergs (and communism, broadly) was really in alignment with liberal ideology, not an anomaly. Liberalism, he argues, champions progressive causes like civil rights but only to a point, "as long as the basis of the system is not threatened."
Kaufman's sentencing of the Rosenbergs, as well as his willingness to tip the scales of justice ("virtually guaranteeing the jury’s guilty verdict"), were consistent with the liberal ideology he would maintain throughout his career in the court, Meeropol writes.