St. Mary’s College of Maryland mourns the loss of the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson, retired U.S. District Court Judge, trustee of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and founding board member of the Center for the Study of Democracy. Jackson died at his home in Compton, Md., on Saturday, June 15, 2013.
In celebration of his life, an endowment fund has been established in his memory at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Center for the Study of Democracy. Contributions can be sent to: SMCM Foundation, 18952 E. Fishers Road, St. Mary’s City, MD 20686.
Jackson was a U.S. district court judge for the District of Columbia, appointed in 1982 by President Reagan. During his 22-years on the bench, he presided over several notable cases, including the Microsoft antitrust case. Judge Jackson also heard the drug trial of former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, the public disclosure case over former Senator Packwood’s diaries, and the case involving the constitutionality of the presidential line-item veto. Prior to accepting his judgeship, he was a partner at the law firm of Jackson & Campbell in Washington, where he specialized in defending physicians and hospitals in malpractice suits. Jackson & Campbell was started by his father, Thomas Searing Jackson, a well-known Washington lawyer. When he retired from the federal court in 2004, Jackson returned to private practice.
In addition to serving on the college’s Board of Trustees since 2001, Jackson was also a founding advisory board member of the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he served from 2002. He was often a guest lecturer in history and political science classes and helped bring other federal judges to campus as speakers for the Center. In 2008, Jackson authored an essay for the Center on the political motivations of George Calvert’s “Maryland Designe” and its connection to the religious tensions in English politics during the 17th century. In 2009, he was the Center’s Cheney Visiting Scholar. Michael Cain, professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, tributes Jackson as a force of the Center from the start: “He was an important contributor to the Center in both its establishment and its subsequent development. His interest and passion for the law and its importance for American democracy was genuine. He was an important intellectual leader at the Center and his contributions will be deeply missed,” says Cain.
Judge Jackson attended St. Albans School and Bethesda Chevy Chase High School. He received his A.B. in government from Dartmouth College in 1958 and an LL.B. from Harvard in 1964. From 1958 to 1961, he served in the U.S. Navy aboard a destroyer as a line officer.
He was a member of the American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association (president, 1982-1983), vestryman at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Md. (1969-1975), trustee at Gallaudet University, fellow of the American College Trial Lawyers, the Rotary Club, and president of the local Dartmouth College alumni group.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Jackson, two adult daughters, Leila Kochis and Sarah Jackson-Han, a brother, Jeffrey Jackson, and three grandchildren.