Paxton’s disciplinary lawsuit can continue

So says the same court that upheld the Sidney Powell dismissal.

Still a crook any way you look

A Dallas appeals court ruled Friday that Attorney General Ken Paxton can face disciplinary action for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

A three-judge panel on the 5th Court of Appeals rejected Paxton’s argument that he is immune from punishment because he was acting in his official capacity; public officials are generally shielded from lawsuits. The court ruled that the case was instead against Paxton in his personal capacity.

“It is against Paxton in his capacity as a Texas-licensed lawyer and an officer of the legal system,” wrote Justice Erin A. Nowell in the majority opinion, going on to cite a ruling in a nearly identical case against Paxton’s top aide Brent Webster for the same issue: “Paxton ‘is not exempt from the judiciary’s constitutional obligation to regulate the practice of Texas attorneys simply because he serves’ as the attorney general.”

A committee of the State Bar accused Paxton in 2022 of falsely claiming he had substantial evidence that raised doubts on Joe Biden’s win in four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — in a lawsuit he filed before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The petition was quickly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because Paxton was representing Texas voters, not those in the four states whose results he contested.

Paxton’s office is likely to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court. If the case is allowed to go to trial, the attorney general could face private or public sanctions, ranging from a warning to disbarment. Texas law does not require the attorney general to hold bar membership.


Fellow Democratic Justice Nancy Kennedy joined Nowell on the majority opinion, while Republican Justice Emily Miskel dissented, saying she would have dismissed the suit because the suit is “based on an executive officer’s discretionary performance of the powers assigned exclusively to him.”

See here for the previous update, here for the majority opinion, and here for the dissent. I note that in the case of Sidney Powell, the all-Democratic panel unanimously supported Powell’s appeal, while here there was a partisan split. Make of that what you will. At some point, this will get to the Supreme Court, and we’ll see if there’s anything more after that. You know what I think.

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