WASHINGTON, D.C. - The recently completed federal courthouse in Buffalo will soon be named after Robert H. Jackson.
On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said U.S. Senate legislation will be introduced mirroring legislation in the House of Representatives introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo. Once the bill clears the Senate and House of Representatives, it must be signed by President Barack Obama before the building's name becomes official.
Jackson began his legal career in a Jamestown firm and went on to serve as the solicitor general, attorney general and U.S. Supreme Court Justice in addition to his role as chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
"Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was one of the truly great legal professionals Western New York and Chautauqua County gave America, and it is appropriate and fitting that the Buffalo federal courthouse bear his name," Schumer said. "This courthouse symbolizes the rule of law in Western New York, and as the region's only Supreme Court Justice, who had his humble beginnings in Jamestown and famously went on to be chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, naming the courthouse for him is a perfect fit. The Buffalo courthouse stands as a new pillar of the Buffalo community, serving justice throughout Western New York, and it should honor all that he has accomplished through his long career in public service."
Schumer and Gillibrand highlighted Jackson's legal career, which got its start in Western New York. Jackson was raised in Frewsburg and then spent the majority of his young adulthood in Jamestown, after spending a post-graduate year at Jamestown High School. Jackson went on to Albany Law School, and then returned to join a law practice in Jamestown. Jackson went on to become a leading lawyer in New York State, and was elected to the American Law Institute in 1930, one role among others that elevated his national reputation.
In 1934, Jackson was appointed to a federal judgeship by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which opened the door to a host of federal roles, including his work as the U.S. Solicitor General, U.S. Attorney General, and finally his extensive work as a Supreme Court Justice. In 1945, President Truman appointed Jackson to serve as the chief prosecutor in the international Nuremberg Trials, for which he took a leave from the Supreme Court.
"Naming downtown Buffalo's U.S. courthouse in the honor of Justice Robert H. Jackson is the right choice, and the right way to tribute his tremendous public service to our community and our entire country," said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "From serving on America's highest court, to his role as the architect of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Justice Jackson always served with integrity, and was a true champion for human rights. This is the perfect opportunity for Western New York to celebrate and honor his legacy."