LINCOLN, Nebraska -- Perhaps murderer Michael Ryan feels blessed.
Attorney General Jon Bruning might feel jinxed. At the least, he's very upset and, as is his custom, he has given voice to his discontent.
Ryan, 63, has been on death row since 1985. The story of how the one-time leader of a religious, anti-government cult, came to be convicted of two shockingly brutal torture/murders made national news.
More than 26 years later Ryan still sits on death row, maybe believing that God is on his side. He said as much in years past: "I know I haven't done anything in his eyes wrong, because man's laws are the laws of Satan."
"I ain't answering to them [other people]. I'll answer to Yahweh when I get there and if I've been wrong then I have an eternity for hell."
Bruning, in contrast, has a figurative death grip on a supply of one of three drugs the state would use to kill Ryan -- sodium thiopental -- and he wants to fight a federal court order, and a subsequent order from the federal Food and Drug Administration, to turn the stuff over to the FDA.
And the state is also refusing to comply with a recall order for the drug, issued by the Swiss company, Naari AG. The company says Nebraska obtained the drug under false pretenses from a third party.
In March, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ordered -- in a case involving Arizona, California and Tennessee -- that the FDA collect any sodium thiopental obtained from overseas by any state.
Bruning told the FDA it should appeal the order, which he personally concluded was wrong and did not involve Nebraska.
"Other than the court's erroneous order, we are unaware of any evidence or reasons why the Department of Correctional Services should be required to return any thiopental in its possession," Bruning told the FDA.
What's to come of defying the FDA and, indirectly, the federal court order?
More courtroom maneuvering, probably. The kind that can eventually be dropped on the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court.