Prettyman To Discuss Roberts’ Record

If there is anything E. Barrett Prettyman wants the world to know about Robert H. Jackson, it is that Jackson was extremely practical.

Prettyman, who was Jackson’s last and only law clerk, will be at the Robert H. Jackson Center on Friday. He will be joining John Roberts, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who will be speaking about Jackson.

Before Jackson’s death in 1954, Prettyman served as his law clerk.

“(Jackson) was a great writer. The best writer of the court,” Prettyman said. “He was a very practical man. He didn’t decide cases on some obtuse theories, but on the basis of the actual facts and how the result would be effective in the real world.”

Prettyman is a lawyer with Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. According to his Hogan Lovells profile, Prettyman’s practice is primarily in the appellate and administrative areas. Prettyman has been counsel in more than 150 matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and has personally argued 19 cases in the Supreme Court. Additionally, he has been special assistant to the attorney general, special assistant to the White House, the President’s representative on the Interagency Committee on Transport Mergers, and outside special counsel to three separate Congressional committees, including the House Ethics Committee during the Abdul Scam FBI investigation in the 1980s.

Although Jackson has been gone for nearly 59 years, Prettyman said he still recalls several fond memories of the former associate justice of the Supreme Court.

“There were so many,” he said. “(I enjoyed) working on a case together with him, because he loved to talk matters through and he always wanted to know my view, even though he might then pay no attention to it. He was just fun to work with. I respected him tremendously. I thought he was right in his votes 90 percent of the time.”

With Chief Justice Roberts speaking at the Jackson Center, Prettyman said he will be on a panel discussing Roberts’ record as a lawyer.

“He was with our firm for many years before he went on the bench and did the many things that he has done,” Prettyman said. “I worked on a number of cases, over 40 cases with him when he was with our firm. I’m going to speak briefly about how he performed.”

Roberts’ speech will be taking place at 10 a.m. at the Robert H. Jackson Center. Additional information about the event may be found at