Richard G. Kopf

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Richard George Kopf
Richard G. Kopf District Judge.jpg
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
Assumed office
December 1, 2011
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
In office
1999–2004
Preceded by William G. Cambridge
Succeeded by Joseph F. Bataillon
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
In office
May 26, 1992 – December 1, 2011
Appointed by George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Warren Keith Urbom
Succeeded by John M. Gerrard
Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
In office
1987–1992
Personal details
Born Richard George Kopf
1946 (age 71–72)
Toledo, Ohio
Education Kearney State College (B.A.)
University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Law (J.D.)

Richard George Kopf (born 1946) is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Education and early career[edit]

Kopf received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in 1969,[1] where he was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.[2] He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Law in 1972.[1] He was a law clerk for Judge Donald Roe Ross of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for two years following law school and then entered private practice in Lexington, Nebraska.[1] In 1984, he served as counsel for the State of Nebraska in the impeachment of the Nebraska Attorney General.[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Kopf served as a United States Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska from 1987 to 1992.[1]

Kopf was nominated by President George H. W. Bush on April 7, 1992, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska vacated by Judge Warren Keith Urbom. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 21, 1992, and received commission on May 26, 1992. He served as Chief Judge from 1999 to 2004. He assumed senior status on December 1, 2011.[1][3]

Controversial opinions[edit]

Kopf has received considerable press coverage for abortion-related decisions, particularly for his 474-page opinion striking down a ban on late-term abortions in Carhart, et al., v. Ashcroft.[4] His decision included the apology "I apologize for the length of this opinion. I am well aware that appellate judges have plenty to do and that long-winded opinions from district judges are seldom helpful.... Nonetheless, I pity the poor appellate judge who has to slog through this thing. I am truly sorry."[5]

In 2007 Kopf dismissed without prejudice a case over the use of the words "rape" and "sexual assault" in a rape trial in Lancaster County, Nebraska.[6][7] Tory Bowen had filed a lawsuit against Judge Jeffre Cheuvront for violating her right to free speech in a rape trial; Kopf dismissed the suit because Bowen had not shown enough evidence to demonstrate her lawsuit was not frivolous. Cheuvront had barred the words "rape" and "sexual assault" from the trial, but allowed words such as "sexual intercourse" and "intercourse" to be used instead.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

Kopf has served as president and board chair of the historical society for the Eighth Circuit.[8] He served as administrator of the Robert Van Pelt Inn of Court, a legal professional organization, until 2008;[9] the organization gave Kopf its Warren Keith Urbom Mentor Award the same year.[10]

Personal blog[edit]

From 2013 to 2015, Kopf maintained a personal blog entitled Hercules and the Umpire: The Role of the Federal Trial Judge.[11] He ended the blog due to the fact that members of his courthouse staff felt the blog was an embarrassment to the court.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Kopf, Richard George - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. 
  2. ^ "Phi Kappa Tau Hall of Fame". Phi Kappa Tau. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Resolution: Senior Status of the Honorable Richard G. Kopf, United States District Judge, District of Nebraska" (PDF). U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska. Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Nebraska judge finds partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional". Elizabethton Star. September 9, 2004. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ Carhart v. Ashcroft, 331 F. Supp. 2d 805, 809-810 (D. Neb. 2004)
  6. ^ a b "Judge tosses lawsuit over word 'rape'". USA Today. September 26, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bowen v. Cheuvront, 516 F. Supp. 2d 1021 (D. Neb. 2007)
  8. ^ "The Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit". U.S. Courts Library: Eighth Circuit. Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ Kopf, Richard. "Financial Disclosure Report for Calendar Year 2009" (PDF). Judicial Watch. p. 5. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Warren K. Urbom Mentor Award". The Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court. American Inns of Court. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ Kopft, Richard. "Hercules and the Umpire". Hercules and the Umpire. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Nebraska federal judge ends controversial blog; Will remain on bench - netnebraska.org". netnebraska.org. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Warren Keith Urbom
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
1992–2011
Succeeded by
John M. Gerrard
Preceded by
William G. Cambridge
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
1999–2004
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Bataillon