From growing up on his family's diversified grain and livestock farm in the Nebraska panhandle to serving as the state's Chief Deputy Attorney General, Steve has devoted both his personal and professional career to advancing American agriculture. For more than two decades, he has focused his practice on business litigation, governmental affairs, governmental ethics and election law, and appellate litigation. His experience includes litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, and the Nebraska Supreme Court.
His deep knowledge of the industry is further displayed in his numerous published articles and presentations.
While serving in Nebraska's Office of Attorney General for more than 11 years, Steve represented the state in the national tobacco settlement in which it received $1.165 billion, the largest settlement in state history. He was responsible for oversight of “Initiative 300” matters on agricultural-ownership restrictions and legal opinions on agricultural topics. He also served as legal counsel to the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board and the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission and worked extensively on interstate water litigation.
Steve previously served as a legislative assistant for agricultural policy and credit issues to U.S. Rep Virginia Smith of Nebraska. In that role he was instrumental in the addition of the shelter-belt, tree-planting provision to the conservation portion of the federal farm bill.
Awards and Recognitions
•The Best Lawyers In America, Appellate Practice, 2012-2015
•Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
•Citizens for a Better Omaha, Treasurer, 2013
•City of Omaha Charter Review Convention, Delegate, 2013
•Community Health Charities of Nebraska (CHC-NE), Board of Directors, 2004-2007
•Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha, Board of Directors, 2014-present
•Gambling with the Good Life, Advisory Board, 2006-present
•Grace University Foundation, Board of Directors, 2003-2009
•Jean Stothert for Mayor, Legal Counsel, 2013
•K-Life Omaha, Board of Directors, 2008-2011
•Leadership Omaha, 2010-2011
•Nebraska Republican Party, General Counsel, 2007-2013
•Pete Ricketts for Governor, Treasurer and Legal Counsel, 2013-present
•Authored briefs in 10 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Counsel of record in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914.
•Challenged state constitutional provision restricting ownership of agricultural land under the Commerce Clause Jones v. Gale, 470 F.3d 1261 (Eighth Circuit)
•Argued a rare en banc appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
•Defended state ethanol tax credits.
•Appealed a real estate boundary dispute.
•Defended business incentive legislation.
•Challenged a state campaign finance statute restricting independent committee expenditures.
•Represented the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District before the Nebraska Legislature.
•Obtained summary judgment in favor of ethanol company in securities-related litigation.
•Represented concrete recycling facility before the Omaha City Council.
•Challenged proposed constitutional amendment authorizing video slot machines.
•Challenged statute restricting initiative petition circulation.
•Challenged natural gas main extension on behalf of investor-owned utility.
•Defended jury award in breach of contract case.
4.01.12 Judicial Selection in Nebraska, The Federalist Society
2.09.10 Corporations and Unions Have the Right to Speak In Federal Elections
1.01.08 Ethanol - America's Leading Alternative Fuel, National Association of Attorneys General President's Initiative on Energy
1.01.08 Busting Four Myths of the Food vs. Fuel Debate, The Gusher, Vol. 75, No. 3
1.01.02 Opinions of the Attorney General, more than 80 official opinions, available via Westlaw @ NE-AG
10.01.00 Tobacco Litigation and Legislation, Head & Neck
1.01.99 Livestock Confinement Facilities: A Rose by Any Other Name? Nebraska Continuing Legal Education Seminar
1.01.99 If Standing Bear Could Talk ... Why There is No Constitutional Right to Kill a Partially Born Human Being, 33 Creighton Law Review 23
1.01.98 Child Pornography and Child Nudity: Why and How States May Constitutionally Regulate the Production, Possession and Distribution of Nude Visual Depictions of Children, 71 Temple Law Review 609
1.01.98 Critical Facts and Free Speech: The Eighth Circuit Clarifies Its Appellate Standard of Review for First Amendment Free Speech Cases, 31 Creighton Law Review 387
In The News
8.19.14 Husch Blackwell Boasts 106 Best Lawyers on 2015 List, Seven “Lawyers of the Year”
Energy & Natural Resources Financial Services Food & Agribusiness Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation News Release
8.16.13 Best Lawyers 2014 Names 109 from Husch Blackwell, 13 “Lawyers of the Year”
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction Financial Services Energy & Natural Resources News Release
8.23.12 2013 Best Lawyers Includes 106 Husch Blackwell Attorneys in 56 Practice Areas and 7 States
9.06.11 More Than 100 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers 2012