1st female Nebraska federal district court judge dies at 66

Nebraska News

Laurie Smith Camp
United States District Court, District of Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP/KCAU) — Laurie Smith Camp, a longtime Nebraska attorney who became the first woman to serve on the state’s federal district court, died unexpectedly overnight at age 66.

John M. Gerrard, the chief judge of Nebraska’s federal district court, said Thursday that Smith Camp died peacefully at her home. The cause of her death wasn’t disclosed.

Smith Camp was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2001 and was confirmed unanimously by the Senate.

She assumed senior judge status in 2018, meaning she was semi-retired but continued to carry an active caseload.

Gerrard says she was an outstanding judge, a gracious mentor and a friend. She is survived by two children.

Many Nebraska politicians released statements following news of Smith Camp’s passing, including Governor Pete Ricketts.

Susanne and I are shocked and saddened that Judge Smith Camp has unexpectedly passed away.  Before becoming a federal judge, she was a highly-respected attorney in both private practice and public service.  Outside of her legal career, she was a friend to the arts and a deeply-involved member of the community.  We celebrate her work and will long remember her contributions to the Good Life.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts

“Judge Smith Camp was a smart, well-respected jurist who committed her life to serving her community and upholding the rule of law. She served her community for years and was an impeccable jurist who paved the way for women in the legal field in Nebraska. Melissa and I mourn her death. We pray tonight for her family and loved ones.”

U.S. Senator for Nebraska Ben Sasse

“Today Nebraska lost one of its finest citizens. Judge Smith Camp was a friend and a well-respected jurist. I appreciated her counsel on the three vacancies on Nebraska’s federal courts we worked to fill. I am saddened by her passing and send my deepest condolences to her family.”

U.S. Senator for Nebraska Deb Fischer

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