Jackson Family Honored By Chief Justice Remarks

For the grandchildren of Robert H. Jackson, the speech delivered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts offered a strong affirmation of their grandfather’s legacy.

On Friday, Roberts was joined by Thomas Loftus and Melissa Jackson on the porch of the Robert H. Jackson Center for the ceremony at the center of his momentous visit to Jamestown.

According to Jackson, who is a justice of the Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan, Roberts’ speech invoked a sense of pride in her heritage.

“I have to say, from the family’s point of view, (the speech) was incredibly moving, and was a celebratory moment for us,” she said. “For our grandfather to be so heralded and honored by having the chief justice come and speak is such a huge compliment to our family, and a great recognition of our grandfather’s legacy.”

For Loftus, the detail of Roberts’ speech regarding his grandfather was what stood out most.

“It was remarkable,” he said. “It was so specific, and indicated such an extensive knowledge of my grandfather’s work. I was blown away by it. And it’s just wonderful to have (Roberts) feeling a sense of connection to the center and, thus, to Jamestown.”

Loftus said he has been acquainted with Roberts for more than 20 years, having been introduced by E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., Robert H. Jackson’s last law clerk.

“I know John, and I’m looking forward to catching up with him. He’s a marvelous guy,” he said.

Jackson said the recognition her family has received is something she had never anticipated, but which she is grateful for.

“It’s not anything that we ever expected (to have happen) in our lives, but it’s been a wonderful gift to us,” she said.

To show their appreciation for Roberts’ visit and comments, Jackson’s grandchildren assisted in presenting him with a bust of Jackson. A product of Dexter Benedict, a sculptor from Penn Yann, the bust was made from the same mould that was used in the creation of the Jackson statue that now stands in front of Love Elementary School.

“What Mr. Benedict has done is just amazing. I’m so impressed with the detail and the character shown in that bust,” said Loftus. “I had never realized it on the statue by Love School, because it’s up a ways, and I just didn’t see how detailed it was. It’s just a marvelous piece of work.”

Roberts said that the bust would be displayed in a place of prominence, alongside a portrait of Jackson, within the courthouse of the Supreme Court.

As for the chief justice’s visit, Loftus said it is a sign of progress for the area.

“It was just another wonderful day for Jamestown. I feel like the city is growing, the Jackson movement is growing and let’s keep up the momentum here,” he said.