Kopf, Richard George
Born 1946 in Toledo, OH
Federal Judicial Service:
Judge, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
Nominated by George H.W. Bush on April 7, 1992, to a seat vacated by Warren K. Urbom. Confirmed by the Senate on May 21, 1992, and received commission on May 26, 1992. Served as chief judge, 1999-2004. Assumed senior status on December 1, 2011.
U.S. Magistrate, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, 1987-1992
Kearney State College (now University of Nebraska at Kearney), B.A., 1969
University of Nebraska College of Law, J.D., 1972
Law clerk, Hon. Donald Ross, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1972-1974
Private practice, Lexington, Nebraska, 1974-1986
Counsel, State of Nebraska, impeachment of Attorney General Paul Douglas, 1984
About seven years ago, a bright law student asked me about blogging and that exchange became part of a blog. See Ian Best, Judge Richard Kopf (D. Nebraska): Legal Blogs Will Fill the Practicality Gap,
The student asked me whether I would consider blogging. I answered this way: “If I were to write my own blog, it would have something to do with what it means to be a federal trial judge on a day-to-day basis. I am not sure, however, that I want to reveal that much about myself.”
I am now on senior status, and with that change in status (plus advancing age) my reticence to blog has lessened. I think I have something worth writing about.
I am very interested in the role of judges and particularly the role of federal trial judges. So, that is what I will write about in this blog.
As an aside, even though I am a senior judge, I still have an active caseload. Thus, I must not comment upon pending or impending matters. I will strive hard to live up to that restriction. Fair warning: nothing I write about in this blog should be taken as a comment upon those forbidden areas.
I hope the title evokes an image of two poles. On the north, we have the late great Ronald Dworkin’s all knowing judge, Hercules. On the south, we have Chief Justice Roberts’ formulation of the judge as umpire.
I am interested in knowing (1) which pole is the better and (2) whether there is a longitude and latitude between those poles that locates the proper role of a federal trial judge.
Richard G. Kopf