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Nebraska State Capitol

The Supreme Court room on the second floor of the Capitol has intricate designs symbolizing the agriculture of the state.

We would like to clarify a few statements made in Les Veskrna's Local View ("Custody practices hurt kids, taxpayers," July 27) about custody practices he claims hurt kids in Nebraska.

The opening paragraph states, “According to an article that appears in the current issue of The Nebraska Lawyer, the official publication of the Nebraska State Bar Association, our current child custody system is unconstitutional.”

First, this statement could be read to imply that by publishing the article, the NSBA supports this position. The Nebraska Lawyer magazine has a clear and straightforward disclaimer on the first page of every issue, explaining that the “purpose of the magazine is educating and informing Nebraska lawyers about current issues and events relating to law and practice. It allows for the free expression and exchange of ideas. Articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of any person other than the writers.”

Second, the authors of the article published in The Nebraska Lawyer magazine raise important constitutional issues in family court but appropriately acknowledge these are issues yet to be decided by the appellate courts, not the authors.

Veskrna also attacks the court’s decision to defend producing judicial training materials pursuant to the state’s open records laws. Such a position was not done to “hide what occurred” but has a much broader and deeper jurisdictional conflict. The court has authority to manage its own records in a way that would protect against infringement of its constitutional independence.

Public records statutes do not trump the constitutional imperative that one branch of government may not unduly interfere with the ability of another branch to perform its essential functions. If our state is going to have a truly independent judiciary, judges must be given the ability to render their decisions free of any outside pressures.

Tim Engler, Lincoln

President, Nebraska State Bar Association

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