Coalition Of Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Defending Ken Paxton And His Top Deputy

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024 - 11:00 PM

Authored by Jana J. Pruet via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A national coalition of 18 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief to defend Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster in a lawsuit initiated by the State Bar of Texas.

“The State Bar of Texas’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline attempted to censure Attorney General Paxton and First Assistant Attorney General Webster for taking action over genuine concerns of unconstitutional conduct by states during the 2020 election,” Mr. Paxton’s office wrote in a press release on Monday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (C) talks to reporters with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (2nd L) and Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone (R) in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on April 26, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The brief was filed on Friday in response to complaints against the state’s top attorney and his top deputy for their decision to file the “landmark” case known as Texas v. Pennsylvania. Mr. Webster authored the petition contesting the 2020 presidential election results to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Neither the State Bar nor this Court is an appropriate forum for what is ultimately a political fight,” the group of attorneys general wrote in the brief. “And while it is, of course, true that the Attorney General is subject to general rules of professional conduct, those rules cannot be used to limit discretionary authority conferred by a State Constitution. Nor can they be weaponized to undermine the will of the voters who elected the Attorney General in the first place.”

Montana AG Austin Knudsen, who led the coalition, said the commission’s complaint threatens the constitutional authority of elected officials.

The weaponization of the bar complaint process undermines the constitutional authority of elected officials and the will of the voters,” Mr. Knudsen told the Daily Caller. “I’m glad I could support Attorney General Ken Paxton in this instance as a number of attorneys general, including me, are facing similar attacks from their political adversaries. just for doing their jobs.”

The coalition argues that the issue is not about the alleged misconduct but whether the court will allow state bars to take action against those with whom they disagree politically.

“The real question in this case is not whether the alleged misrepresentations amount to violation of the rules of professional conduct,” the court document reads. “Instead, it is whether courts will permit the politicization of the State Bars and weaponization of disciplinary rules against elected executive officers discharging their constitutional duties.

The Supreme Court of Texas will likely be the first to consider that question. It should be a resounding ‘No.’”  

The attorneys general argue that allowing the case to move forward will encourage further bar complaints made for the purpose of “obstructing the ability of attorneys general and their staff to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.”

They are asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the appeals court.

“The Court should grant the petition, reverse the court of appeals’ decision, and render judgment on behalf of the First Assistant,” the document states.

Here is a list of the other 17 attorneys general who signed on to the amicus brief:

  • Alabama AG Steve Marshall
  • Alaska AG Treg Taylor
  • Florida AG Ashley Moody
  • Idaho AG Raúl Labrador
  • Indiana AG Theodore Rokita
  • Iowa AG Brenna Bird
  • Kansas AG Kris Kobach
  • Louisiana AG Liz Murrill
  • Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch
  • Missouri AG Andrew Bailey
  • Nebraska AG Michael Hilgers
  • North Dakota AG Drew Wrigley
  • Oklahoma AG Gentner Drummond
  • South Carolina AG Alan Wilson
  • South Dakota AG Marty Jackley
  • Utah AG Sean Reyes
  • West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey

Mr. Paxton said the state bar’s attempts to punish him and Mr. Webster will not stop them from defending the Constitution.

“Thank you to my fellow attorneys general for siding with law and order,” Mr. Paxton said in a statement.

“The State Bar is using a disgraceful tactic: weaponizing politically motivated lawfare to intimidate elected leaders and their staff from upholding the Constitution when it inconveniences their political agenda. This attempt to punish First Attorney General Webster and me for standing up for our country, our State, and our citizens will not succeed.”