Nebraska Chief Justice John Hendry announced his resignation effective
October 2, 2006. The resignation was a surprise. The Chief Justice reportedly
said he has no other position planned. He simply decided it was time to
leave his position on the Nebraska Supreme Court after thinking about
the possibility for about a year.
The Chief Justice said his future plans include some family and relaxation
time. He forecast that he would miss the Supreme Court, but concluded
the timing for his departure is right.
Several prominent Nebraskans credited Hendry with setting a thoughtful,
collegial tone on the Supreme Court. They praised him for streamlining
and modernizing the state's court system and enforcing ethical standards
for Nebraska judges and attorneys.
Gov. Dave Heineman, who will appoint the next chief justice from a list
of candidates submitted by a nominating commission, called Hendry "a
striking jurist" and an innovative administrator of the court system.
He also was a vocal leader in promoting court reforms, Heineman said. Those
included efforts to address issues of actual or perceived bias in the
court system, interpreters for trial courts, dealing with children in
the court system, creation of drug courts and continuing education for judges.
By his retirement date, Hendry will have completed eight years on the state's
highest court. He also served three years as a Lancaster County judge
after 21 years as a product liability lawyer in Lincoln with the firm
of Bruckner, O'Gara, Keating, Hendry, Davis & Nedved.
An Omaha native, Hendry graduated from the University of Nebraska College
of Law in 1974. Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
and former NU law school dean, said "The court has become much more
highly respected within the judiciary and the public."
State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha called Hendry a man of integrity who
had worked to bridge the gap between the judiciary and the Legislature.
Omaha attorney David Domina said the Hendry court has become known for
the quality and thoughtfulness of its opinions.
Domina appeared before the court most recently as the prosecutor in the
impeachment trial of NU Regent David Hergert. The court found Hergert
guilty and removed him from office.
Omaha attorney William Dittrick, president of the Nebraska Bar Association
and a college classmate of Hendry's, said the job of chief justice
is a difficult one that requires a lot of time spent on administrative
matters as well as the judicial cases. Dittrick complimented Hendry as
a thoughtful, gentle soul.
July 19, 2006
David A. Domina
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