Robert H. Jackson Center

New Federal Courthouse Officially Named for Robert H. Jackson

Oct 09, 2012 | Posted in News Releases

New Federal Courthouse Officially Named for Robert H. Jackson

A legislative bill naming the new federal courthouse in Buffalo after Robert H. Jackson was signed Friday by President Obama, less than two weeks after it passed in the Senate.

First introduced by Congressman Brian Higgins last fall, the bill passed the House of Representatives in July. Chief Judge William Skretny gave his endorsement, referring to Jackson as “the most distinguished jurist and most acclaimed legal mind to come out of the Western District.”

The bill subsequently received support from Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who championed the bill before the senate.

“Justice Jackson had great regard for his native region of western New York and his legacy has become an illustrious example to the citizens of this area,” remarked James C. Johnson, President/CEO of the Robert H. Jackson Center. “We at the Jackson Center can think of no one more fitting to honor with this special and unique recognition.”

Due to a growing workload in the Western District, federal judges William Skretny and Richard Arcara began making the case for a new federal courthouse in Buffalo well over 10 years before the approval for funding the structure passed congress in 2007. The effort to name the courthouse for Jackson had its beginning in March 2008, with an editorial comment in the Buffalo News that suggested the new federal courthouse at Niagara Square be named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Leadership at the Jackson Center immediately began what would become a four-and-a-half year campaign to see it finally become a reality.

“Robert H. Jackson is an inspiration to us all,” said Greg Peterson, Jackson Center board member who led the Center’s effort to name the courthouse along with Stanley Lundine, Rolland Kidder and Jackson scholar John Q. Barrett. “Thanks to the efforts of many, this self-described ‘country lawyer,’ who made his way on talent, hard work and a life-long devotion to self-education will be recognized for his remarkable accomplishments. From his humble beginnings right here in Chautauqua County, to President Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle, to the U.S. Supreme Court and Nuremberg, his life is powerful evidence that one person from any background truly can accomplish great, world-defining things,” continued Peterson. “As Supreme Court Justice, Jackson shaped U.S. domestic law; as architect of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, he built the foundation for modern international law. Jackson accomplished all of this with no college education and only one year of law school.”