About Urbom

Alexander Payne, the Nebraska-born filmmaker, introduces Schmidt, the protagonist in About Schmidt, with one minute of silence. The scene ends with Schmidt, alone in his spare office filled with boxes, watching the clock tick to five in the afternoon on his last day of work. It is a poignant piece of great beauty.

And that brings me to Warren Urbom’s last day at work after serving 44 years as a federal district judge in Lincoln, Nebraska. Unlike Schmidt, Urbom’s last day, while just as poignant as Schmidt’s, was a joyous occasion celebrated by hundreds. It is beautifully reported by Lori Pilger (a truly gifted journalist) in the Lincoln Journal Star and you can find it here. It is worth reading even if you didn’t know Warren. After all, as Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp said yesterday, intending no hyperbole, Warren Urbom was “one of the greatest judges who ever lived.”


PS I will have more on Warren, but not now.



3 responses

  1. The good judges–ones elevated to the bench on merit–are slowly dying off or retiring, only to be replaced by shameless political hacks with no semblance of respect for the law. If there is to be a moment of silence, it is to acknowledge the death of the rule of law.

    “Here’s how you get rid of these cases….” This ought to be the epitaph for our Bill of Rights.

  2. Judge:
    As a New York City boy, I have to ask: “What is it about you Nebraskans?” The list of famous Nebraskans–in just about every discipline imaginable–is quite impressive for such a sparsely populated state (and I would include Judge Urbom in that group). I’m guessing there’s more than just something in the water out there. Any idea what it might be?

  3. Robert,

    Because I was born in Ohio and did not move to Nebraska until I was 18, I am not the best person to answer your perceptive question. I have often thought about that question too. I don’t have a good answer. If I were to guess, I would guess that it has something to do with the harshness of the place. It is that harshness that produces a persistent bunch. Not much, but that’s all I have.

    All the best.


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