Following an emotion-filled debate with spectators and legislative aides watching closely, the Nebraska legislature voted 30-19 to override the state governor’s veto of their bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. Note that Nebraska is a very conservative state so this move is quite astonishing.
The 30 votes were the bare minimum necessary to override the veto and there was suspense until the very end as it was not clear which way the vote would go. The governor worked hard to peel away three of the 18 conservative senators who had voted earlier to abolish the penalty earlier but succeeded in getting only two to switch their votes. Some senators reported receiving death threats from supporters of the death penalty.
Senator Ernie Chambers, who had been pushing for this for nearly four decades, can be justifiably proud of this achievement.
The outcome elicited a nod and a grin from the typically stoic Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who has tried for four decades to repeal the death penalty. As the controversial senator walked through the glass doors leading into the Capitol Rotunda, he was feted with chants of “Ernie! Ernie! Ernie!”
Chambers quoted from the Bible to summarize his thoughts upon the achievement of his highest political goal.
“I fought the good fight, I finished my course, I kept the faith,” he said. “And although I put it in the personal pronoun singular, it’s everybody who voted for that override. Because if any one of them had not, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Although the article mentions that Chambers quoted from the Bible, they neglected to note that he is an atheist who sued to stop opening prayers of the legislature, has fought against property tax exemptions for religion, and sued god for causing death and destruction.
But the dead-enders are not giving up and are threatening to restore the death penalty by referendum. I hope the people of Nebraska resoundingly reject it.