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Texas court OKs suit against A.G. Ken Paxton over 2020 election challenges

The Texas Bar's disciplinary committee sued the attorney general in 2022 over his failed attempt to block Joe Biden’s election win at the U.S. Supreme Court.

By

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can be sanctioned by the state bar association over his unsuccessful effort to overturn the 2020 election results, a state appeals court ruled on Thursday.

A three-judge panel on Texas' Fifth Court of Appeals determined that a lawsuit brought by the State Bar of Texas' disciplinary committee against Paxton can proceed, because the suit is seeking to punish him in his capacity as a licensed attorney and not as a public official.

The state bar’s lawsuit has loomed over Paxton as he battled criminal charges and corruption allegations in other matters, and as he continues to use the power of his office to take frivolous and cruel legal action to assert his conservative agenda. The disciplinary committee first brought the suit against Paxton in 2022. He had challenged the election results in key battleground states that Biden narrowly won in 2020, and his petition was swiftly dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Paxton tried to have the committee's lawsuit against him thrown out, arguing that he had petitioned the high court as a public official and therefore was not subject to the bar's disciplinary rules.

“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,” Appeals Court Justices Erin Nowell and Nancy Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

“Subjecting Paxton to disciplinary proceedings does not violate separation of powers; immunizing him does,” they added.

If Paxton is ultimately sanctioned by the state bar, he could receive a private or public reprimand, or even disbarment. He would still be able to serve as Texas attorney general, however; a license from the bar is not required for the position.

Paxton’s spokesperson, Paige Willey, said he will appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court, whose justices are all Republicans.

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