The full U.S. Senate has passed legislation to name the Buffalo Federal Courthouse after Robert H. Jackson.
Jackson began his legal career in a Jamestown firm and went on to serve the as solicitor general, attorney general and U.S. Supreme Court justice, in addition to his role at Nuremberg. The companion bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo, passed the House of Representatives in July. The bill now heads to President Barack Obama's desk to be signed into law.
"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 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "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."
"Justice Jackson was one of the truly great Americans Chautauqua County gave us, and the Buffalo Federal Courthouse will finally bear his name," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). "This courthouse symbolizes the rule of law in Western New York, and as the region's only Supreme Court Justice that had his humble beginnings in Jamestown and famously went on to be chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials, this name is a perfect fit. The Buffalo courthouse stands as a new pillar of the Buffalo community, serving justice throughout Western New York, and it honors all that he has accomplished through his long career in public service."
Schumer and Gillibrand highlighted Jackson's impressive legal career, which got its start in Western New York. Robert 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 among other roles that elevated his national reputation.
In 1934, Jackson was appointed to 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. Jackson is famous for the passion, energy, intellect and great skill that he brought to these trials.