Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may have crossed an ethical line after he urged members of the public to pressure the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to rule in his favor.
Micheal Shirk, a retired Austin attorney, caught wind of what Paxton was doing and filed a lawsuit with the Texas State Bar.
Paxton’s action violated his duty as an attorney, his oath to uphold the Texas Constitution and a state law that requires attorneys to practice law honestly, according to a grievance filed Friday by Shirk, as reported by Austin American-StatesMan.
Paxton, Texas attorney general since 2015, asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn the 8-1 ruling that struck down the law that ended his ability to unilaterally prosecute election law violations .
After being rejected, Paxton turned to the media to seek help from his supporters.
First, Paxton appeared on Lindell TV, an online forum by MyPillow Ceo and Mike Lindell on January 17.
“Call them by name,” Paxton continued. “I mean, you can search for them. There are eight who voted the wrong way. Call them, send mail, send emails.
Paxton also questioned whether the judges were true Republicans and called their decision part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to help Democrats win the Texas election.
In his grievance to the State Bar, Shirk made three allegations that would result in Paxton losing his Texas law license:
- The Texas Professional Conduct Disciplinary Rules, the code of ethics governing the conduct of judges and attorneys, place strict limits on the contact attorneys can have with judges outside of court.
- Paxton supported calling the Legislative Assembly back for a special session to pass a law the same as or stronger than the one struck down by the court.
This would allow him to investigate and deal with voter fraud for at least several years until the Court of Criminal Appeals “overturns him again,” as Austin American-StatesMan reported.
“This unchallenged plea for unconstitutional law is a basis for the revocation of Mr. Paxton’s bar license,” Shirk wrote. “There is no greater abuse of public office than to encourage subversion and the suspension of constitutional protections, even if only for ‘several years’.”
- When Paxton accused the court of making the decision due to political motivations, it was seen as “systematic and coordinated misconduct”. “These unsupportable, perfidious, and demeaning claims are especially serious when made by the most senior law enforcement official in Texas,” Shirk told the state bar.
According to The Houston Chronicle, this marks the third bar complaint against Paxton made public within the last year; the first two alleged Paxtons committed professional misconduct by filing a December 2020 lawsuit in the United States Supreme Court seeking to overturn the election results for Trump.