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Judge Max Kelch to step down from Nebraska Supreme Court

January 26, 2018 GMT

LINCOLN — Nebraska Supreme Court Judge Max Kelch will step down Feb. 15, less than two years after he joined the high court.

Kelch submitted a two-sentence resignation letter this week to Gov. Pete Ricketts.

“After much deliberation, I have decided it is best for my family to submit my resignation,” he wrote, adding that he would stay on until Feb. 15 “in order to finish my open cases.”

Kelch did not return messages Wednesday. Taylor Gage, the governor’s spokesman, said any other information about the resignation would have to come from the judge.

A former prosecutor who served as a district court judge in Sarpy County, Kelch was tapped by the governor in early 2016 to join the seven-member court. His March 12, 2016, swearing-in ceremony at the State Capitol was attended by his wife and an adult son.

Kelch, 60, of Papillion, arrived at the Supreme Court with a reputation as a hard worker who enjoyed legal research as well as writing opinions and judicial orders. As a judge, he was known for being tough and exacting but fair.

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One of the most notable opinions he authored for the Supreme Court involved a 2016 case that said people can be guilty of carrying concealed weapons if the weapon is in any way accessible in a vehicle. He also wrote the court’s opinion that upheld a nearly $260,000 judgment against the City of Lincoln for falsely accusing a woman of a crime.

Kelch did not attend last week’s State of the Judiciary address given by Chief Justice Mike Heavican to state lawmakers.

Nebraska Court Administrator Corey Steel said the Judicial Nominating Commission will hold a hearing March 12 to receive public input on nominees for Kelch’s replacement. The hearing will be at the Sarpy County boardroom, 1210 Golden Gate Drive in Papillion.