Three Ken Paxton updates

I missed these in the recent news rush, but spotted them all more or less at once via the Google News app on my phone. Doomscrolling for the win, I guess.

Whistleblowers: Texas Supreme Court must reject Ken Paxton’s ‘scheme’ to delay depositions.

A crook any way you look

Once again in front of the Texas Supreme Court, embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the state’s highest civil court to toss out his pending, court-ordered deposition or at least greatly limit the scope of what can be asked of him under oath by four former agency employees who argue they were wrongfully terminated after approaching the FBI to report Paxton’s possible misconduct in helping a campaign donor.

Responding to Paxton’s motion to the Supreme Court on Thursday, attorneys for the whistleblowers laid out a litany of arguments to derail what they said was Paxton’s “repugnant ploy” to keep delaying the proceeding in hopes to avoid addressing the whistleblowers’ claims on the record for the first time since the issue arose in 2020.

While Paxton argues the Travis County state District Court ruling mandating his sworn testimony is unnecessary after he filed a motion stating he wouldn’t challenge the facts in the case and would accept any judgment, the whistleblowers maintain that there remains a dispute in the case and that Paxton is not immune under any legal statute to evade the ordered deposition.

“The trial court did not abuse its discretion; it kept OAG (Office of Attorney General) from abusing the judicial system,” the whistleblowers’ attorneys wrote. “The court refused to endorse OAG’s disloyal scheme to orchestrate a judgment against the state of Texas just so the attorney general and a few of his close colleagues can avoid depositions.”

In January, Paxton had also sought the high court’s intervention to delay his deposition, resulting in a divided ruling forcing Paxton and three of his deputies to comply with the lower court’s order.


This time around, however, Paxton has altered his request, arguing that a motion to unequivocally accept a final judgement in the case negates the need for the depositions, and if the testimonies were to continue, they should focus on a future settlement and not on the events leading the whistleblowers to approach law enforcement.

“This case then took an extraordinary turn when plaintiffs refused to take “yes” for an answer,” Paxton’s attorneys wrote to the court last month. “Although OAG has both consented to and moved for entry of judgment against itself, plaintiffs have remarkably opposed entry of judgment in their favor.”

Paxton’s current appeal paused the depositions that were previously scheduled to begin with Paxton on Feb. 9.


“Unable to construe OAG’s pleading as an admission that OAG violated the Whistleblower Act, the trial court cannot lawfully find such a violation until plaintiffs prove it,” the lawyers wrote in advocating for the unencumbered depositions.

The attorneys are also taking issue with Paxton seeking the Supreme Court’s assistance after the Legislature rejected funding his previous settlement.

“It would be inequitable for the state’s judicial branch to assist its executive branch in engineering a judgment that its legislative branch views as a sham,” the attorneys wrote.

Additionally, the whistleblowers on Thursday pointed out several areas of a potential settlement that are yet to be addressed, including the possibility of reinstating the employees with full compensation and benefits, forcing Paxton to amend “retaliatory” personnel and investigation records, and ensuring Paxton refrains from further retaliation against the four whistleblowers.

In closing, the whistleblowers asked that the high court enforce the deposition order, which Paxton had appealed for that court’s intervention twice in January. Paxton’s second, and current request, seeking to stop the depositions came one day before Travis County state District Court Judge Catherine Mauzy ruled to allow the case to continue.

See here and here for some background. For no particular reason, I’m going to use a Catholic analogy to illustrate why SCOTx should reject this latest ploy. Whether you’ve ever been a Catholic or not, you are probably aware of the sacrament of confession, in which the penitent confesses their sins to a priest and receives absolution, which clears the stain of their sins from their soul and puts them back in position to enter heaven, at least until they sin again, once they complete their penance, usually depicted in pop culture as reciting some number of Hail Marys and Our Fathers. The thing about confession is that it’s not actually a get-out-of-sin-free card. Turns out, you have to actually mean it in order to be absolved. If you’re still in a state of sin, you cannot be absolved. That may mean that you are still doing the thing you’ve confessed to – still cheating on your wife, committing securities fraud, that sort of thing – but it also may mean that you haven’t renounced the thing you’ve confessed to, admitted to its sinfulness, and promised to not do it again. In other words, if you confess to a thing but continue to claim – publicly, or in your heart – that you are innocent and never actually did that thing, you don’t get the absolution you seek. You’re still a sinner before God and your soul remains in mortal jeopardy. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to see how this applies to this legal proceeding.

Judge blocks Texas from collecting info on transgender children receiving gender-affirming care.

A Texas judge on Friday temporarily blocked state Attorney General Ken Paxton from forcing an LGBTQ+ advocacy group to hand over information about transgender children receiving gender-affirming medical care.

The ruling came just one day after PFLAG National went to court to try to stop Paxton’s office from getting the information.

Travis County District Court Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel said in an order that providing the information would harm PFLAG and its members in several ways, including violating their rights of free speech, association and protection from unreasonable searches. Additionally, the judge said, it would be a “gross invasion” of privacy.

A hearing was scheduled for March 25 to give the attorney general’s office a chance to make the case for why Friday’s order shouldn’t continue.

See here for the background, and here for a statement from Lambda Legal. I suppose it’s possible Paxton could try to get this order lifted, but I don’t see any further news on this as yet. Spectrum News has more.

Texas court tosses Paxton lawsuit against Yelp over labeling of ‘crisis pregnancy centers’.

A Bastrop County state District Court on Friday shot down Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Yelp for labeling “crisis pregnancy centers,” which often counsel women against having abortions, with disclaimers stating that they “typically provide limited medical services” and do not provide abortions.

After the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 dismantled federal abortion protections established in Roe v. Wade, Yelp posted disclaimers on its site to alert potential customers that the centers “may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.” In February 2023, Yelp updated the notices to state that the crisis pregnancy centers do not provide abortion services.

The attorney general’s office sued Yelp on Sept. 28 for supposedly violating Texas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act, arguing that the notices were “misleading and often untrue because pregnancy resource centers frequently do provide medical services with licensed medical professionals onsite,” though that information does not directly contradict the language of the notices.

Republican Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett dismissed all claims against Yelp “with prejudice,” which means that the court’s decision was based on the merits of the case and that Paxton cannot file the same lawsuit in the 355th District Court again. Towslee-Corbett also granted Yelp’s objection, thereby agreeing that the state of Texas did not have the jurisdiction to bring its claims.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which rightfully recognizes the case should never have been filed in Texas,” said Haynes Boone media law attorney Laura Prather, who represented Yelp. “We are dedicated to protecting our clients’ right to free speech.”


In an emailed statement, Yelp stood by its decision to label the pregnancy centers and called the lawsuit meritless.

The company noted that Paxton had referred to labels stating the centers do not provide abortions as “accurate.” Yelp called the lawsuit filed by Paxton’s office a concerning attempt to subvert First Amendment rights.

I missed that story when it happened, but I have written about the concentrated bullshit that is crisis pregnancy centers before. Everything Yelp said was true, and even some Republican judges don’t like to tolerate lying. I hope that Judge Towslee-Corbett doesn’t have to run again until 2028, because we know how Ken Paxton reacts to judges who don’t kowtow to him.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Legal matters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.