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|Current Court Information:|
|Nebraska District 4|
|Past position:||Attorney in private practice|
|Undergraduate:||Northwest Missouri State University, 1973|
|Law School:||Creighton University School of Law, 1977|
Awards and associations
- Former chairman, Metro Right to Life
In the news
Ethics complaint filed against Bataillon
Sue Ellen Wall, a Lincoln attorney, filed an ethics complaint against Bataillon over his handling of a case involving a 16-year-old girl who needed court approval to obtain an abortion without parental consent. (See Notable case below.) According to Wall, Bataillon's history of affiliation with anti-abortion groups made it impossible for him to decide the case on its merits. However, the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications stated in a letter to Wall that it was not authorized to take action against a judge for their legal decisions. The Nebraska Court of Appeals and the Nebraska Supreme Court must determine whether a judge's decision follows state law.
The Nebraska Supreme Court issued a decision, on October 4, 2013, in the case, upholding Bataillon's ruling. The court indicated it could not consider the issue of bias on appeal, and said the parties should have raised the issue with Bataillon when he was hearing the case.
- See also: Nebraska judicial elections, 2010
2012 judicial performance evaluation
Every two years, the Nebraska State Bar Association compiles responses from lawyers to evaluate judges in the state. Subjects are rated in seven categories: legal analysis; impartiality; attentiveness; opinions; judicial temperament and demeanor; appropriate communication; and timeliness. A recommendation on whether a judge should be retained is then made, based on the ratings.
89.6 percent of respondents stated Judge Bataillon should be retained in office. To read the full evaluation, see: Nebraska State Bar Association, 2012 Evaluation Results.
16-year-old denied abortion request
On October 4, 2013, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld Bataillon's decision to refuse a 16-year-old girl's request for an abortion. The girl, who is a ward of the state and under foster care, requested a court order for the abortion because she feared she would lose her placement if her foster parents found out about her pregnancy.
The girl's attorney, Catherine Mahern, argued no consent was needed under Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regulations, which provide: "if a ward decides to have an abortion, the consent of the parent(s) or Department is not required," though parental notification may be required. Bataillon, who according to court records served on an anti-abortion committee called Metro Right to Life in the 1980's, refused to grant the request. During the court proceeding, he asked the girl whether or not she knew: "When you have the abortion, it's going to kill the child inside you." Judge Bataillon then ruled the girl was not mature enough to make such a decision, and the foster parents would serve as guardians for the purposes of her case.
"Probably the most disturbing aspect of this case was the judge's treatment of this young lady, referring to killing her baby. Who talks to a distressed 16-year-old girl like that?" stated Mahern, expressing her dismay regarding Judge Bataillon's decision.
The 5-2 decision by the Nebraska Supreme Court confirmed Judge Bataillon's ruling, agreeing that the girl was not mature or well-informed enough to make such a decision on whether or not to have an abortion. The girl, who was initially placed in foster care because she suffered abuse in the custody of her biological parents, was also unable to prevail in her argument under the abuse exemption which would negate the parental consent requirement in cases where abuse was prevalent. The court found that the abuse exemption was inapplicable because the girl had not been able to prove that she had been abused by a parent or current guardian.Justices William Connolly and Michael McCormack dissented. Justice Connolly opined that the since the girl had no legal parents, she was unable to seek parental consent, and that the parental consent law could and should be constitutionally challenged as it was applied to wards of the state. In his dissenting opinion, Connolly wrote: "I realize that this conclusion means that none of the statutory exceptions apply and that under (the state law), the petitioner is prohibited from obtaining an abortion. An absolute ban on the petitioner's right to seek an abortion obviously raises constitutional concerns."
- State of Nebraska Judicial Branch: Honorable Peter C. Bataillon Biography
- State of Nebraska Judicial Branch: Districts Map and Address List
- Court biography of Judge Peter C. Bataillon
- List of Nebraska District Court judges
- Omaha.com, "Ethics panel dismisses complaint filed agai[nst judge," December 9, 2013]
- Nebraska Secretary of State, 2010 General Election Results
- Nebraska Secretary of State, Judges running for retention
- OpposingViews.com, "16-Year-Old Girl’s Request For Abortion Denied By Nebraska Supreme Court," October 5, 2013
- Chron.com, "Neb. high court nixes teen's request for abortion," October 4, 2013