Doug Peterson was a successful trial lawyer before he was elected Attorney General in 2014. While he was in private practice, Peterson undoubtedly learned that attorneys are barred from filing junk lawsuits and appeals. Judges have broad authority to fine attorneys who bring frivolous legal actions. An attorney who brings multiple baseless cases could even face the prospect of having one’s law license suspended. This is a rule that the overwhelming majority of lawyers take very seriously.
Since Peterson has been Attorney General, he has politicized the office for partisan political purposes and governed as an extremist committed to advancing the agenda of Donald Trump and the right wing of the GOP. As Attorney General, Peterson has gotten the state of Nebraska involved in several junk and hyper-partisan right wing lawsuits.
In 2020 alone, Peterson suffered stinging defeats in two of his frivolous cases. First of all, the Supreme Court rejected Peterson’s argument that LGBT citizens aren’t protected from discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That was followed up by a ruling that dismissed Peterson’s attempt to terminate the DACA program and kick approximately 800,000 young people out of the country.
Perhaps the most partisan lawsuit he filed on behalf of his fellow citizens is the Trump/Ricketts lawsuit aimed at invalidating the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan. Apparently, Peterson would like un-elected judges with taxpayer funded health insurance to take away insurance coverage from 20 million Americans and end pre-existing condition protections.
Just last month, the new look Supreme Court with a 6–3 “conservative” majority heard oral arguments in Peterson’s ACA case. Fortunately for the American people, the oral arguments for Trump, Ricketts and Peterson didn’t go well. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be skeptical of the Trump Administration’s arguments to throw 20 million Americans off insurance during a raging pandemic.
Doug Peterson has since followed up this losing streak by joining a junk lawsuit filed by Texas and 17 other red states aimed at throwing out the 62 electoral votes for Joe Biden in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the unlikely event Peterson and his extreme allies were to prevail, millions of voters would be disenfranchised.
Doug Peterson’s hero, Donald Trump, has intervened in this case, saying this is the “Big One. ” Interestingly enough, the former TV reality star is being represented by a new attorney, John Eastman, who is best known for advancing a racist conspiracy theory that claimed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wasn’t eligible for the office because her parents were immigrants. You can’t make this stuff up.
I would also add that the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who filed this case with the Supreme Court — is currently under federal investigation for allegedly using the power of his office to benefit a political donor. Apparently, Paxton is angling for a pardon from Trump before he leaves office. That appears to be the motivation for the case.
Legal experts decried Peterson’s case and widely predicted that the Supreme Court will probably reject it as early as Friday. Election law expert Rick Hasen said this about the Texas filing: “This is a press release masquerading as a lawsuit. … What utter garbage. Dangerous garbage, but garbage.”
Former Creighton University Law School Dean and current law professor Patrick Borchers posted the following on his Facebook page: Texas’s attempt to bring a suit against four other states over the election is in technical legal terms “bonkers.”
State Senator (and Lancaster County Attorney candidate) Adam Morfeld posted: “Ashamed that Nebraska would join a lawsuit that would throw out millions of legally cast ballots simply for partisan gain. Bi-partisan election officials and experts in all four of these states affirmed that these results were accurate and valid. This lawsuit and attempt is an affront to our democracy and a complete sham, and any attempt to characterize it differently is a lie.”
We didn’t get in this predicament over night. It took years for the radicalized Nebraska GOP to win most of the major offices in the state with the assistance of vast amounts of special interest campaign cash and daily lies from the right wing media. All we can do as Democrats is roll up our sleeves and devote our time and money to good candidates. Thank you for all that you do!