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WASHINGTON – Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a Buffalo native, will travel to Jamestown in May to speak at the Robert H. Jackson Center, which honors another Supreme Court justice with Western New York roots.

Roberts will speak at 10 a.m. May 17 from the Jackson Center’s front porch. The address will be open to the public and also will be webcast into classrooms in schools throughout Western New York.

“This extraordinary event will be tailored to make history come alive for area students, helping them gain a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the role of the judiciary in our federal system of government,” said James C. Johnson, president and CEO of the Jackson Center. “Invitations will be extended to area schools and the general public,”

Roberts’ visit to Jamestown comes 10 years after his predecessor, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, traveled there to dedicate the Jackson Center.

The chief justice’s speech marks an important milestone for the Jackson Center, said Gregory L. Peterson, Jackson Center cofounder and board member.

“It demonstrates not only the center’s past successes in preserving Justice Jackson’s legacy, but also the continuing role of the Jackson Center in teaching the lessons of Justice Jackson’s life and work to future generations,” said Peterson, who heads Phillips Lytle LLP’s Jamestown office.

Jackson, who grew up in Frewsburg, near Jamestown, served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1941 until his death in 1954. Legal scholar Laurence Tribe has called Jackson “the most piercingly eloquent writer ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Jackson also served as chief prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II. That service, combined with his record on the high court, prompted Congress last year to name Buffalo’s new federal courthouse after him.

Roberts was born in Buffalo in 1955 and lived there until he was in the fourth grade. He is the son of Rosemary and John Glover “Jack” Roberts Sr., who was a plant manager at Bethlehem Steel.

After receiving undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, Roberts served in a variety of government positions and later became one of the best respected litigators before the Supreme Court.

He served for two years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit before President George W. Bush appointed him to succeed the late Rehnquist in 2005.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com