Share U.S. Death Row Executions All of Nebraska's death row inmates filed a lawsuit against the state’s governor Monday in an attempt to save their lives, the latest skirmish in a national fight over the death penalty. The 11 men on death row in the Cornhusker State were relieved when state lawmakers eliminated executions there in 2015, overriding a veto from Republican Governor Pete Ricketts. Their sentences were converted to life in prison as a result of the repeal. Ricketts, the son of billionaire TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, later funded a push for a statewide referendum on restoring the death penalty, and it was successful last year. (Joe Ricketts received national attention this month when he shut down the news websites DNAinfo and Gothamist after employees voted to join a union.) Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now “The Legislature’s actions served to soften our state’s approach to dealing with Nebraska’s most hardened and heinous criminals,” the governor wrote in a fundraising letter for the organization, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, which the lawsuit says he and his family provided with $425,000 and staffed with his supporters and allies. “It’s our position that when the legislature overrode his veto, that was the limit of what the governor could do to influence state law,” said Amy Miller, legal director of ACLU Nebraska, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the prisoners. When the governor funded and staffed the organization, Miller said, “He went beyond what the executive branch may do within the state constitution separation of powers.” Nevada and Nebraska want to use fentanyl for a never before tested lethal injection method. Mike Simons/Getty Images The lawsuit, which also names as defendants other politicians and the state Department of Corrections, argues that the 2015 repeal converted the inmates’ sentences to life in prison and the 2016 referendum does not reinstate their death penalties. The governor did not respond to a request for comment sent to his spokesmen. The legal fight over executions in Nebraska reflects a national debate over whether to carry out the most serious punishment. Thirty-one states