Kopf: Top 10 Things That Made Me Laugh, Happy, Crazy or Sad, 2019

As the year draws to the end, I have been thinking about 2019. I give you, the readers of Simple Justice, the discerning bunch that you are, my take on the top ten things that made me laugh, made me happy, made me crazy or made me sad during 2019. It is up to you to determine which category applies. Without further ado, here is my top ten.

Ten: The Senate Majority Leader pushed through a lot of smart new judges, albeit slaves to the Federalist Society’s schizophrenic program of promoting judicial restraint and judicial activism at the same time. Thus proving, I suppose, that one ought to buy stock in whatever big pharma manufacturers long-lasting Haldol.

Nine: The American Constitution Society once again proved that irrelevance is virtuous while evoking fuzzy and warm feelings in the members as they kiss each other on both cheeks between chants of “Justice.” Mingling while consuming mass quantities of wine and cheese might nominally be optional, although it is required if you desire to get a judgeship when the worm turns.

Eight: CATO for promoting a fascinating mix of libertarianism and shits and giggles.

Seven: Our son becoming a lecturer (the equivalent of an associate professor) at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia after spending several years as a post-doctoral research fellow at another Australian university. He studies both freshwater and saltwater fish which is unusual as most PhDs study one or the other. In a stunning coincidence, our daughter will become the head of an international school for expatriate children in East Timor this next school year. The school is in the capital city of Dili.[i] My daughter and son, their spouses and our six grandchildren will be only an hour away from each other by way of Air Pterodactyl. Far better than the long flight between Hong Kong and Melbourne.

Six: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have allowed federal judges from around the nation to officiate at weddings in New York. On December 23, 2019 I married a fantastic former law clerk and his beloved, a gifted lawyer in her own right. Why does the word “petty” come to mind when thinking about the Governor’s veto?

Five: After cancer surgery to my face in late 2018 that made me look like a pirate, in early 2019, I underwent thirty-two doses of focused beam radiation while bolted to a table by virtue of a mask made especially for me.[ii] Now, lawyers often leave my office somewhat more shaken than normal. The mask sits on the end of my conference room table and serves as my alter ego. I require the lawyers to address their remarks to the mask so that I can doze.

Four: Chris Seaton for his Friday Funny posts. Amazingly, he also finds the time to engage in the hands-on experience of making sure that creatures like dogs and cats cannot reproduce. For a small fee, he also offers that service to male lawyers.

Three: Skinkfest 2019. Don’t ask! I only remember bits and pieces.

Two: Thinking about liver, fava beans and a nice chianti.

One: Still reflecting on 2018 and signing my name to the order that allowed Nebraska to execute a man and then reading the newspaper describing how the fellow went quietly into that good night. Wondering whether 2020 will force me to confront a similar situation in my Arkansas case that has been languishing for years.

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

[i] The shortest flight time for us to get to Dili is 58 hours and that means leaving from Omaha, a one-hour drive from our home in Lincoln.

[ii] The surgery and the radiation appear to have worked. I am checked every 90 days by my surgeon and will be for at least the next year.

18 thoughts on “Kopf: Top 10 Things That Made Me Laugh, Happy, Crazy or Sad, 2019

  1. Guitardave

    Thank you Rich, very happy to hear you’re healthy…and thanks for all the insight and laughs. You’ve totally flipped my opinion about men who wear black robes. Onward and upward my friend. GD

    1. Richard Kopf

      Thanks to you GD. What I desperately want real people to understand is that black robes cover ordinary people with all the strengths and weaknesses of common folk. The evocative song is a wonderful reminder of that truth. All the best,


      1. Richard Kopf


        Thank you.

        Interesting bit of trivia. In 2019, Kate Smith’s statute was covered up and then removed by the Philadelphia Flyers that previously stood in front of the Wells Fargo Center. Her rendition of “”God Bless America” was also banned by the New York Yankees and the Flyers. All of this because of two allegedly racist songs she sang (but did apparently did not compose) in the 1930s.

        All the best.


  2. Skink

    1. Crazy–Haldol is your tell. The long-lasting decanoate should be given to most everyone. Then I could stop pushing the rock up the hill and finally take over the world.

    2. Sad–wine and cheese makes everyone sadder. Whiskey and meat, now there’s happiness.

    3. Laugh–because CATO means “Can’t Avoid This Opportunity.”

    4. Happy–you get all the fish you want and don’t have in Flyover, plus a bazillion more sorta-grandchildren.

    Second 1 (judges and numbers don’t always work) Crazy–you want your realm endless.

    Third 1 (it seems chronic) Happy–making lawyers do stupid shit is what gives judges orgasms. Did you ever think of making them wear the mask AND Lincoln’s hat?

    Fourth 1 (Holy shit, Rich!) Laugh–because it’s CLS, but stop promoting cloning.

    Second 2 (there are more numbers, you know) Laugh and crazy–you come to the Swamp, have fun and claim disrememberance? Just remember: the bacon gets dunked in the booze.

    Second 3 (does this never end?) Crazy–it comes with the mask.

    Fourth 1 (or is it the 6th?) you think sad, but you left out a category: correct–but goddamnit, you can sure put an order together!

    Thanks, Rich, let’s do it again. You won’t believe how good bacon dipped in tequila is!

    1. Richard Kopf


      Done. Perhaps Sinkfest 2020!

      Bacon dipped in tequila consumed with a one-eyed swamp dweller is just the best. One wonders, however, whether it is really bacon or smoke cured roadkill. Either way, it is fantastic.

      Thanks for your friendship. Besides, real lawyers like you are fun to hang out with ’cause they aren’t full of shit.

      All the best.


      1. Skink

        You can bring that French food eatin’, wine-drinkin’ connoisseur back with you. He’s passable with a blawg, but he needs some continuing education when it comes to food and booze.

        1. Richard Kopf

          It’s true. He doesn’t drink like a trial lawyer. Plus, as you note, he is Francophile.

          But I must confess that I find him as smart, snarky and amusing in person as on the thing he calls his blog. That said, down deep he is truly a Mensch, albeit a short one.

          All the best.


            1. Richard Kopf


              I’m shocked, but not saddened, that he’s still dead. And, bless his soul, he provided the grist for one of the shortest and funniest gigs ever. Thanks for the memories.

              All the best.


    1. Richard Kopf

      Thanks, Jake.

      By the way, I get it: “Too cerebral” is another way of saying narcissistic, dumb and boring. But you are too kind to say so. I appreciate your judicious restraint.

      All the best.


      1. Jake

        It is you who are being too kind Judge. It would be more accurate to say I lack the context and experience to understand most of what’s talked about here, and often don’t allow ignorance to stand as good cause for restraint. But I am well versed in the trials and tribulations of health challenges and genuinely glad yours have decreased.

  3. Mario Machado

    Judge Kopf,

    Thank you for this post and for all the others. The best to you and yours for this new year.


    P.S. I’m a newcomer to French cuisine, but you now have not one, but two, FL writing brothers who are partial towards it. Unlike the proprietor of this space, however, I’ll be fine if we have some steak au poivre with a big box of wine on the table.

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