Events planned for courthouse, WAHS to mark Robert Jackson’s birthday

Warren County native Ben Snyder, who served as one of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ law clerks during the 2012-2013 term, will highlight the annual birthday celebration held in memory of former Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.

Could there be a more appropriate way to celebrate the contributions of the Spring Creek-born Jackson, who also notably served as the Chief American Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Trials for Nazi war criminals during World War II, than hearing about another Warren County connection to the court?

Snyder will share his experiences working with the Chief Justice during a lecture titled “Law Clerk Reflections,” slated for Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Warren County Courthouse.

The event is free and open to the public.

According to a release from the Robert H. Jackson Center, Snyder will share his experiences and give an overview of the work that law clerks perform, and reflects on the similarities and differences between the Court in Jackson’s day and today.

As the release explains, an “interesting line of succession” links Snyder and Jackson. Snyder was a clerk for Roberts, who clerked for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who clerked for Jackson during his tenure on the court.

Snyder grew up in Warren, and graduated from Warren Area High School in 2002. He studied political science and American Studies at Northwestern University, where he was also involved in the Oyez Project, an online archive of Supreme Court oral arguments dating back to 1955. From 2006 through 2008, Snyder worked on an international HIV/AIDS relief program at the U.S. Department of State.

Additionally, he spent several months on detail to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives as the House considered the eventual $48 billion reauthorization of the HIV/AIDS program. From 2008 through 2011, Snyder attended Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, he spent a year in Columbus, Ohio, clerking for the Hon. Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Snyder is currently an associate at the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.

In an interview earlier this month, Snyder said that Jackson “is a frequent pick for people’s favorite justice. In the interviews for clerkships, that is one of the questions that justices frequently ask.”

“In law school and after law school, you read a lot of his opinions,” Snyder added. “(They) have a lot of the same plain spoken persuasiveness that I think the Chief (Roberts) has (to) get into the practical significance of the court’s decision that is accessible for non-lawyers.”

Earlier in the day on the 13th, Jackson Center President and CEO James C. Johnson will deliver a presentation titled “Children in War: The Phenomenon of Child Soldiers” and host a question and answer session based on his experiences during an assembly at Warren Area High School. Johnson formerly served as Chief of Prosecutions for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, overseeing the trial and investigative teams which prosecuted persons accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international law. The program will link Jackson’s contributions to international law and show the relevance of his ideals of justice and fairness in dealing with crimes against humanity.