U.S. District Judge John Gerrard announces his retirement

By: - February 7, 2022 11:00 am

LINCOLN — U.S. District Judge John Gerrard has announced that he will transition to senior judge status by next year, creating a vacancy on the federal bench in Nebraska to be filled by President Joe Biden.

U.S. District Judge John Gerrard
U.S. District Judge John Gerrard
(Courtesy of Harry Weddington)

Gerrard, in a letter Monday to the president, wrote that he will continue to “render substantial judicial service” because of a heavy caseload in Nebraska and because there are only three active federal judges.

He also urged the president to make a “timely appointment” of a successor.

“Nebraska has a long history of promptly filling vacancies on the federal bench,” Gerrard said in a press release.

He added that he was confident Nebraska’s two Republican U.S. senators, Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, will work with the Democratic president.

Gerrard, in an interview, declined to comment on whether the timing of his announcement had anything to do with the possibility that the U.S. Senate, which confirms federal judges, might flip from Democratic control to Republican following the 2022 elections.

Gerrard, 68, was appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2012 on a 74-16 vote.

The judge had served on the Nebraska Supreme Court from 1995 to 2012 after being appointed to that post by then-Gov. Ben Nelson.

Prior to becoming a judge, Gerrard was in private practice in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Monday, he said he is “still healthy, alive, well and judging” and that his transition was solely due to his age. Other judges, he said, have made the transition at about this age.

The U.S. District Court has two other senior judges, Richard Kopf and Joseph Bataillon. Such senior judges continue to hear cases, but with less of a caseload.

Gerrard said he will continue with his current caseload until February 2023, when he will make the transition.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. AP and Getty images may not be republished. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of any other photos and graphics.

Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.