Chief Justice John Roberts' visit to Jamestown brought a number of state and federal lawmakers to the area, including Congressman Brian Higgins.
Roberts, a Western New York native, returned to the area to participate in a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.
Prior to a private luncheon at the Jackson Center with Roberts, Higgins, D-26th District, presented the center with an official, signed copy of the House of Representatives' bill naming Western New York's federal courthouse located at 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, after Jackson, who was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice from 1941 until his death in 1954.
Pictured at top is a signed copy of the House of Representatives’ bill naming Western New York’s federal courthouse located at 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, after Jackson, who was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice from 1941 until his death in 1954. Pictured above is Congressman Brian Higgins, D-26th District, with Greg Peterson, co-founder and board member of the Robert H. Jackson Center.
P-J photos by Ryan Atkins
"I think that this is a really wonderful day for Jamestown," said Higgins. "It's a wonderful day for the Jackson Center. People like Greg Peterson, Stan Lundine, they were the moving forces when they created this center. It was done for a reason - to impart knowledge and appreciation for the extraordinary life of Robert Jackson. It found its way to people like myself and others, and it was a major influence in naming the federal courthouse in Buffalo after Justice Jackson."
Higgins introduced the bill in December 2011 which would allow for the new U.S. courthouse in Buffalo to be named after Jackson. The bill, co-sponsored by the full 29-member bipartisan New York delegation, was approved by the House of Representatives on July 23, 2012, and signed by President Obama on Oct. 5, 2012. A ceremonial dedication naming the courthouse for Jackson is scheduled to take place this summer.
According to Higgins, Jackson's impressive resume was one of the primary reasons that the committee chose him as the namesake for the courthouse. Jackson served in several high-level positions within the U.S. judicial system, including spending time as solicitor general, attorney general and associate justice of the Supreme Court, as well as being appointed by President Truman to serve as the architect of the court in Nuremberg after World War II. Laurence Tribe, a great constitutional scholar, characterized Jackson as the most piercingly eloquent writer in the history of the United States Supreme Court.
"His writings were always imbued with optimism and humor," said Higgins. "This is a great day for this area, which I unfortunately don't represent anymore, but this community has a lot to be proud of today. It has a lot to be proud of in regard to its history, and it has a lot to be optimistic about for the future. I presented a copy of the bill for the naming of the courthouse to Greg Peterson and the Jackson Center today because of the extraordinary role that they played in helping us to make the compelling argument on behalf of Justice Jackson. There isn't any Western New Yorker who is more deserving of that honor than Jackson."