Eye On The Future

With an impressive list of events that have taken place at the Robert H. Jackson Center since its inception in 2001, current president James Johnson is looking forward to a bright future with the organization.

On Friday, the Jackson Center hosted U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who delivered a speech to commemorate the decade that has passed since former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist came to Jamestown to dedicate the center in 2003.

“It demonstrates not only the center’s past successes in preserving Justice Jackson’s legacy, but also the continuing role of the center in teaching the lessons of Justice Jackson’s life and work to future generations,” Greg Peterson, Jackson Center co-founder, said of the visit from Chief Justice Roberts.

According to Johnson, much of the future for the Jackson Center will be based on reaching out to a wider audience with Jackson’s messages.

“From a general sense, the future of the Jackson Center still looks much like it did last year,” said Johnson. “The Jackson Center is very much looking at expanding the programming in two directions. First, we’re expanding into bringing Justice Jackson to as many students as we can, both junior high and high school level, to teach his values and the specifics of his work in the Supreme Court arena, as well as presidential powers, civil rights and the international side of his life.”

“We want to make it real for students so that they understand what’s going on internationally.” Johnson continued. “Second, when we look to the future, we’re looking to expand our relationship with international criminal tribunals and find a role for the center in the jobs that they’re performing.”

During the next several months the Jackson Center will continue its busy schedule with the ninth annual Robert H. Jackson lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States, a special studies week at Chautauqua Institution and the seventh annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs.

The lecture, which will take place July 9 at Chautauqua Institution’s Hall of Philosophy, brings in a prominent U.S. Supreme Court expert to offer his or her take on the court, the justices, signal decisions and other developments. This year, the speaker for the lecture will be Charles Fried, beneficial professor of law at Harvard University. Fried is the former solicitor general of the United States and has also served as associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Special studies week will focus on the topic of talent and responsibility in public communication. A series of guest lecturers, including John Q. Barrett, professor, St. John’s University; James Mullen, president, Allegheny College; Peter Weitzel, former senior editor, Miami Herald; Larry Thompson, executive vice president, Government Affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, PepsiCo; and Douglas Neckers, CEO, Spectra Group, Ltd. will explore how Jackson organized and prepared his writing and speeches and how his successors in government, global media and public discourse strive to effectively deliver their messages.

The International Humanitarian Law Dialogs this year will focus on the theme, “The Long Hot Summer after The Arab Spring: Accountability and the Rule of Law.” The event will take place at Chautauqua Institution from Aug. 26-27.

According to Johnson, the Jackson Center has also started developing partnerships with colleges and universities. Already able to include Allegheny College, Case Western Law School and Syracuse Law School as partners, the Jackson Center will be looking to expand to other regional institutions, as well.

“There’s so much that we can do,” said Johnson. “I don’t know that for an institution as young as the Jackson Center that you could find a comparable institution that has done as much as they have here. We’re looking forward to expanding on that. My goal is to continue to move the Jackson Center forward.”