Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling on the state’s highest civil court to intervene against the State Bar of Texas, as the group attempts to censure and strip his license to practice law due to his role in a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election.

In December 2020, following the presidential election filled with concerns about election integrity, Paxton led 18 states in filing Texas v. Pennsylvania at the United States Supreme Court. The case challenged the voting procedures in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin and sought to temporarily block those states from certifying vote counts ahead of the Electoral College vote.

The Supreme Court eventually dismissed the case, saying Texas lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. 

In 2022 the Texas State Bar—the professional organization that certifies lawyers—attempted to censure and sanction Paxton and First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster for having filed the suit, calling it frivolous. The Bar filed a lawsuit against him in an attempt to strip their law licenses. 

While the allegations were initially dismissed, the State Bar appealed the case to the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals, who allowed the process to move forward. 

In April, a coalition of 17 attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Texas, supporting Paxton and Webster.

“The real question in this case… 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 brief stated.

Now the Office of the Attorney General has filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Texas—the state’s highest civil court—asking them to review the appeals court’s ruling, calling it “politically motivated lawfare.”

“The State Bar’s attempt to sanction the Attorney General is an unconstitutional violation of the Texas Constitution’s Separation of Powers Clause and violates his sovereign immunity. Nevertheless, over an erudite dissent, a sharply divided court of appeals permitted the Bar’s lawsuit to go forward. The petition for review requests the Texas Supreme Court to intervene to prevent the State Bar’s continued abuse of the legal system,” a statement by the OAG reads.

The filing may be read here.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens

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