The new U.S. Courthouse in Buffalo will officially be named for Jamestown's most notable legal-minded citizen Monday.
The naming ceremony for the Robert H. Jackson U.S. courthouse will be held at 11 a.m. at 2 Niagara Square. The event is open to the public.
The Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse is a building that occupies a full block of Delaware Avenue at Niagara Square, directly across from the Statler Towers and adjacent to Buffalo City Hall. The building features a glass entry pavilion that has all 4,536 words of the United States Constitution etched into the glass, and is topped off by a glass enclosure meant to resemble a glowing lantern when illuminated. Jackson is the only Western New Yorker to serve as Supreme Court Justice, although current Chief Justice John Roberts was born in Buffalo, his family moved to Indiana when he was in fourth grade.
In December 2011, U.S. Rep Brian Higgins, D-South Buffalo, introduced legislation, co-sponsored by the 29 members of the New York state delegation in the House of Representatives, to name the U.S. courthouse for Jackson. In October 2012, President Barack Obama signed the law to name the courthouse after Jackson.
Deb Pacos, Robert H. Jackson center development director, said several board members, staff, supporters and Jackson family members will be attending the ceremony.
"(Jackson Center) co-founder, Greg Peterson, has been asked to be one of the speakers, as has Jackson's granddaughter, Julia Craighill," Pacos said. "Jackson's grandson, Thomas Loftus, will also be in attendance and will speak at a private reception that follows the ceremony. The center is also providing materials for two exhibits inside the courthouse. A timeline of Jackson's life will be on display in the courthouse lobby and a collection of first-edition books by Jackson, as well as books about Jackson, are on loan to the courthouse library."
Pacos said a lot of hard work was done by several people, not only from Jamestown, but throughout the state, to have the courthouse named after Jackson.
"The campaign to name the courthouse after Jackson was started in 2008 - the legislation was signed almost a year ago by President Barack Obama - that in itself was cause for celebration, but the official ceremony is truly the icing on the cake," she said.
Jackson's work included a private practice in Jamestown, Buffalo and the surrounding region. He was also the U.S. solicitor general and attorney general. Most notably, Jackson was a Supreme Court justice and the chief prosecutor of the principal Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, Germany, which allowed him to shape domestic law and build the foundation of modern international law.
"Justice Jackson is, in the legal field and perhaps generally, Western New York's most consequential individual. Few others, and no one from our region, had more lasting legal impact or is revered more widely than Justice Jackson," Pacos said. "Justice Jackson's life is an inspiration to every person. He never attended college and spent only one year in law school. He made his way on talent, hard work and a lifelong devotion to self-education. His life is powerful evidence that one person from any background truly can accomplish great, world-defining things."