Robert H. Jackson graduated from a public high school, never attended college, apprenticed in a law office, spent one year taking classes at Albany Law School, became a prominent trial lawyer and went on to become Solicitor General, Attorney General and a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Yet, he viewed his crowning achievement in public service to be the new standards in international law that were created when he served as the Chief American Prosecutor before the International Military Tribunal Nuremberg following World War II.
That individuals who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity could be tried by an International Tribunal and be found personally responsible was new law in 1946. Jackson's brilliance and courage in bringing Nazi war criminals to justice set a new standard in the field of international law.
It remains the standard to which the world looks today. After Nuremberg, Justice Jackson returned to the bench of the United States Supreme Court where he continued to build his reputation as being one of the brightest and most articulate judges ever to serve on that Court.
Shortly after participating in the unanimous decision in the famous desegregation case of 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education, Robert Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack. Every member of the U.S. Supreme Court came to Jamestown for his funeral. He is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in nearby Frewsburg, New York, under a simple headstone that reads: "He kept the ancient landmarks and built the new."
» Learn more by visiting the Robert H. Jackson Center website.