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.
Steve's agribusiness experience has included:
· Challenging restrictions on ownership of agricultural real estate and livestock in a landmark Commerce Clause case.
· Appealing a real estate boundary dispute before the Nebraska Court of Appeals.
· Representing Butler County Ethanol, ConAgra, Del Peterson & Associates auction company, E Energy Adams LLC ethanol, Greater Omaha Packing Co., Power Genetics cattle breeders and Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in numerous matters.
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 from 1991 to 2002, 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 1985 farm bill.
Awards & Recognitions
· The Best Lawyers In America, Appellate Practice, 2012-2014
· Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
Professional Associations & Memberships
· The Association of the Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
· Nebraska State Bar Association, fellow; Government Practice Section, Executive Board, 1997-2001
· Omaha Bar Association
· Robert Spire American Inns of Court, 2008-present
· Community Health Charities of Nebraska (CHC-NE), Board of Directors, 2004-2007
· Gambling with the Good Life, Advisory Board, 2006-present
· Grace University Foundation, Board of Directors, 2003-2009
· K-Life Omaha, Board of Directors, 2008-2011
· Leadership Omaha, 2010-2011
· Nebraska Republican Party, Legal Counsel, 2007-present
· Authored briefs in 10 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. Counsel of record in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914.
· Challenged long-standing state constitutional provision restricting ownership of agricultural land under the Commerce Clause in federal district court and U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit. Jones v. Gale, 470 F.3d 1261
· Defended state ethanol tax credits.
· Appealed a real estate boundary dispute.
· Defended business incentive legislation.
· Appealed campaign practices fine.
· Challenged a state campaign finance statute restricting independent committee expenditures.
· Challenged proposed constitutional amendment authorizing video slot machines.
· Defended constitutional challenge to Nebraska adoption statute.
· Challenged statute restricting petition circulation.
· Argued a rare en banc appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
· Challenged statute restricting political party nominations.
· Challenged natural gas main extension on behalf of investor-owned utility.
· Defended jury award in breach of contract case.
4.1.12, Judicial Selection in Nebraska, The Federalist Society
2.9.10, Corporations and Unions Have the Right to Speak In Federal Elections
1.1.08, Busting Four Myths of the Food vs. Fuel Debate, The Gusher, Vol. 75, No. 3
1.1.02, Opinions of the Attorney General, more than 80 official opinions, available via Westlaw @ NE-AG
10.1.00, Tobacco Litigation and Legislation, Head & Neck
1.1.99, If Standing Bear Could Talk ... Why There is No Constitutional Right to Kill a Partially Born Human Being, 33 Creighton Law Review 23
1.1.98, 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
1.1.98, 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
1.1.90, The Conservation Reserve Program: 1990 and Beyond. Legislative and Administrative Proposals to Enhance Long-Term Environmental and Economic Benefits From the Conservation Reserve Program, 69 Nebraska Law Review 697