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Robert Jackson and Prosecutorial Discretion

Message Michael Leon

by MAL Contends 

Madison, Wisconsin—The life of Robert Houghwout Jackson (1892-1954) is many things. 

Scholar and jurist, public servant, humanity’s chief advocate at Nuremberg (1945-46), US Supreme Court Justice (1941–1954), and Brown v. Board of Education’s champion (his Brown opinion drafts were more confrontational and scholarly, reflecting the man’s moral outrage and intellect), Jackson’s like is difficult to locate among contemporary jurists. 

As the Bush administration has turned the Department of Justice into a political operation of the White House, and liberal district attorneys around the country (including Wisconsin, see Brian Blanchard, for example) engage in frenzied quests to prove their tough-on-crime bone fides in furtherance of political careers, Jackson, as the US Attorney General (1940-41), speaks to us today with urgency. 



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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at
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