Share story

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Omaha attorney Jonathan Papik was sworn in to the Nebraska Supreme Court on Monday by U.S. Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Papik served as Gorsuch’s law clerk, and the judge said Papik has a natural judicial temperament.

“Where character is concerned, Jonathan Papik arrived in my chambers fully formed,” Gorsuch said, describing his former clerk as a hard-worker who was “precise in his reasons, confident, but never brash.”

Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court last year by President Donald Trump to replace Antonin Scalia.

Papik was nominated by Gov. Pete Ricketts to replace Justice Max Kelch, who resigned after less than two years on the bench following an ethics complaint filed against him. Papik is Ricketts’ third nomination to the state Supreme Court.

Ricketts said Papik has a sharp mind, the respect of his colleagues and is dedicated to understanding the constitution how it was written.

Papik also clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman in the U.S. Court of Appeals after graduating with honors from Harvard Law School. He has practiced law as a partner at Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather for nearly eight years.

Papik, who was born in Stromsburg, said he feels blessed for the opportunity to serve as a judge.

“As a judge, there’s not a lot I can say about how I will do my job,” he said. “It’s improper to say that I would rule this way or rule that way on a particular issue or particular case, but I can commit before everyone here today that I will do my absolute best to apply the law faithfully and impartially.”

The 36-year-old Papik is the youngest judge to serve on the high court. His wife and three young children placed his judicial robe on him during Monday’s official ceremony.

Papik will represent the 4th Judicial District, which includes portions of Douglas and Sarpy counties.