LINCOLN — State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha filed a disciplinary complaint against two top state officials Friday for adding Nebraska to a last-ditch Texas lawsuit over the presidential election.
The complaint names Attorney General Doug Peterson, who signed on to a friend of the court brief in the case, and Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who publicly endorsed Peterson’s action. Both men are attorneys.
Chambers submitted the complaint to the Nebraska Supreme Court’s counsel for discipline, who enforces professional conduct rules for attorneys.
The veteran lawmaker, who earned a law degree but never took the bar exam, argued that Peterson and Evnen violated those rules by signing on to, or endorsing, an “action of such frivolousness as to constitute disrespect for a tribunal — the highest one in the land.”
Nebraska was among 17 states that supported a Texas challenge of the election in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, all of which were won by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but the high court denied the case on Dec. 11, saying Texas did not have legal standing to challenge how another state conducts its elections.
Nebraska also signed on to a brief supporting the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in a separate and unsuccessful bid to take its election challenge to the Supreme Court.
Chambers said the brief in the Texas case contained “false, disproven and unsubstantiated accusations,” as demonstrated by the scores of election lawsuits that had already been tossed out by “innumerable judges.”
Such a history, he said, “would impel any person of ordinary intelligence to recognize the utter futility and frivolousness of the Texas lawsuit. The same would hold doubly true for any lawyer of ordinary competence. Peterson and Evnen were on notice. Partisan politics, not the law motivated them.”
Chambers argued that their conduct violated professional rules because it “tends to bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute.” He pointed to editorials in The World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star calling the action “shameful” and “embarrassing” and to the number of critical letters published in both papers.
A spokeswoman for Peterson’s office declined to comment on the filing. Evnen’s office did not respond to a message seeking comment.