Attorney General Ken Paxton, in an appeal, is asking the courts to lift an injunction that stopped the state from conducting child abuse investigations over transition-related medical care for transgender youth. Paxton argued that the families — belonging to PFLAG, an LGBTQ advocacy group — did not suffer injuries as a result of the Department of Family and Protective Services’ investigations.
A June lawsuit against the state, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal representing the families of transgender youth, resulted in a temporary injunction which paused the DFPS investigations, ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier last year.
Paxton filed the brief on Friday in response to the plaintiffs’ request that the injunction be upheld in January. In his reply, Paxton sought to overturn that court-order injunction issued in September.
The 3rd Court of Appeals will determine if the injunction will hold up, either by hearing from both sides in oral arguments or simply ruling on the briefs filed. Until then, the injunctive relief will remain in place, according to Karen Loewy, senior counsel and director of constitutional law practice for Lambda Legal.
“There was nothing new about the State’s arguments at all, and thus far, they’ve been rejected by every court that has heard them,” Loewy said in an email.
If the court sides with Paxton, it’s not clear if the DFPS investigations of parents of trans kids would resume. The agency declined to comment on the litigation.
Paxton said the families have not experienced specific injuries stemming from these investigations, arguing that parents have not lost custody of their children as a result of the investigation and therefore that claim has no standing.
“Thus, [families] have not been injured and their suit is not ripe until their injury is imminent or has already occurred,” Paxton wrote in his appeal.
PFLAG asserted that the state interfered with their parental rights, which are guaranteed in the Texas Constitution. Abbott’s directive ordering DFPS to investigate families has instilled fear in LGBTQ youth who are afraid the state will separate them from their parents. Abbott’s order even forced one family to flee the state.
Paxton also said that PFLAG, which has 600 members, shouldn’t be allowed to stand in for families who could be investigated for child abuse. He said the individual families must participate in the lawsuit in order to provide evidence of injury by the particular investigations directed by Abbott.
See here for the background. I don’t even have the words to respond to the claim that the targeted families have not “experienced specific injuries” from these investigations or the threat of them; that the argument is being made by the guy who fled from a process server because he “feared for his safety” just adds to the mind-melting gall of it. This will make it to the Supreme Court, assuming that one of the many anti-trans bills currently polluting the Lege doesn’t make it all moot. Anyway, there’s your update.