Skip to comments.Leftist lawyer Victor Rabinowitz dies
Posted on 11/21/2007 11:25:53 AM PST by Borges
NEW YORK - Victor Rabinowitz, a lawyer who represented leftist causes and clients such as Alger Hiss, the Black Panthers, Fidel Castro and Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin, has died at 96.
Rabinowitz died Friday at his Manhattan home, his longtime law partner, Michael Krinsky, said Tuesday.
In a 1996 memoir, "Unrepentant Leftist," Rabinowitz said that he had been a member of the American Communist Party from 1942 when the United States and the Soviet Union were wartime allies until the early 1960s because it seemed the best way to fight for social justice.
Rabinowitz was the last attorney for Hiss, the American diplomat accused of spying for the Soviet Union and ultimately convicted of perjury in 1950 in one of the postwar era's most famous espionage cases.
"My father always felt that he was very ably represented by Victor Rabinowitz," said his son, Tony Hiss.
Rabinowitz began his career at the firm of Louis Boudin, a labor lawyer involved in radical politics. Rabinowitz opened his own practice in 1944 and Boudin's nephew, Leonard Boudin, joined him three years later. They worked together until Leonard Boudin's death in 1989.
Rabinowitz eventually represented Leonard Boudin's daughter Kathy, a member of the student radical group Weather Underground who pleaded guilty to murder for her involvement in a 1981 armored truck heist. She served more than 20 years in prison.
The firm's other clients included such liberal activists as singer Paul Robeson, Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, Pentagon Papers figure Daniel Ellsberg and civil rights leader Julian Bond.
In 1960, Rabinowitz's firm was hired by Castro to defend the Cuban government's nationalization of U.S.-owned property. Rabinowitz won by arguing that U.S. courts should not question the internal affairs of other countries.
In a case that went to the Supreme Court, Rabinowitz unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of a legal provision that forced labor leaders to swear that they were not Communists.
For what it’s worth, I was friendly with Rabinwitz’s son Peter and daughter Joan when growing up in the 1950’s. They were far left in high school. I don’t know what became of Joan.
Peter and his wife Nancy both teach at Hamilton College. Nancy was involved in an outrage a few years ago when she invited a terrorist convicted of bombings and other crimes to be a part of an “artist and activist in residence” program.
Dr. Spock. I actually voted for him for President in 72 as a protest vote because no way could I vote for McGovern and I despised Nixon but knew he would win. If there was a chance that McGovern would win I would have held my nose and voted for the Dick.
Did you argue politics? Ever get to the crimes of Stalin?
I have to ask, what did you hold when you voted for Spock?
His ears ?