LINCOLN, Neb. (Legal Newsline) -- A Nebraska lawmaker is asking the state Supreme Court to toss a state bar association rule that requires Nebraska lawyers to be members of the bar.

State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh filed a petition with the state's high court last year asking it to abolish the rule.

The court held a public hearing in the matter Monday.

Lautenbaugh, an Omaha attorney, argues that the Nebraska State Bar Association requirement should be eliminated because the group is engaged in political activity.

He contends the bar even is using member dues to lobby on certain bills before the legislature.

"Should the bar have a position on concealed carry when some people think there shouldn't be any guns and some people think we should all have sidearms on right now?" he asked in arguments Monday, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

"Should the bar have a position on that? And why should they? Because you are going to offend somebody either way. Is that really the purpose of the organization?"

The bar argues it is operating within the law, and that members who object to its political activities can notify the bar and have their dues used for other purposes.

The association, which has about 9,300 members, was founded as a voluntary bar in 1899, according to its website.

In 1937, it was integrated by order of the state Supreme Court.

It is one of about 40 unified, or mandatory, bar associations in the United States.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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