Paxton asks SCOTx to dismiss the disciplinary lawsuit against him

I’m just surprised it took him this long.

Still a crook any way you look

State Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court ruling that kept active a disciplinary proceeding and potential future punishment for his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a Tuesday filing.

Initiating a punitive administrative action in 2022, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, a standing committee of the State Bar of Texas, is seeking to reprimand Paxton for his “dishonest” attempt to prevent the certification of election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan that were favorable to President Joe Biden.

Previously, Paxton has argued he is immune from punishment for actions taken in his official capacity, thus rendering the complaint against him invalid. Meanwhile, the State Bar and attorneys who filed amicus briefs argue Paxton is subject to the same rules, standards and ethics as other attorneys and that his election fraud push before the U.S. Supreme Court lacked merit and credibility.

A three-justice panel of the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas in a 2-1 ruling in April agreed that Paxton is encumbered by legal and ethical considerations, and it allowed the punitive case to move forward by rejecting the attorney general’s immunity argument.

Now, Paxton is asking the state’s highest civil court to reconsider the lower court’s decision, claiming the State Bar’s effort to punish him and the appeals court ruling as an “abuse of the legal system” and “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,” Paxton’s office said in a news release Tuesday. “Nevertheless, over an erudite dissent, a sharply divided court of appeals permitted the Bar’s lawsuit to go forward.”

Despite Paxton’s argument over previous legal filings that he cannot be punished by the State Bar in his official capacity, the appeals court viewed the issue differently, finding instead that it would be a violation of separation of powers to lend blanket immunity to the attorney general.

“Every attorney admitted to practice in Texas, including those representing a government agency, is subject to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, both promulgated by the Texas Supreme Court,” said the majority opinion issued in April by appeals court Justices Erin Nowell and Nancy Kennedy.

See here for the previous update. I suppose this is a different argument before, and thus might have required more time to file than the cut-and-paste job he was originally able to make. I can’t say I’m optimistic – the Supreme Court is made up entirely of Republicans, who need to win Republican primaries to be able to continue to serve on the Supreme Court, and they all saw what happened to their colleagues on the Court of Criminal Appeals after they tried to apply the law and the Constitution to Ken Paxton – but who knows. It is what it is at this point. Texas Public Radio has more.

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