Texas Bar won’t sanction Paxton for telling county clerks to ignore Obergefell ruling

Posted on 10 Aug 2016 at 1:52pm
Ken Paxton

Texas AG Ken Paxton

Even though he told county clerks across the state of Texas that they could ignore a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the State Bar of Texas won’t be sanctioning Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Texas Tribune reports that the state bar has dismissed a complaint filed against Paxton by more than 200 Texas attorneys, who said the AG “violated his own official oath of office” in June 2015 when he issued a written opinion telling county clerk’s they could ignore the high court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established marriage equality as the law of the land, if same-sex marriage goes against their personal religious beliefs.

Paxton originally promised to back up any county clerks who were sued for refusing to issue licenses, but as it turned out, he didn’t mention that if they were sued it would be them, personally, paying the costs of defending themselves and paying any settlements that might be awarded.

In an Aug. 3 notice obtained by the Tribune, “The Chief Disciplinary Counsel has determined that there is no just cause to believe that [Paxton] has committed professional misconduct.” At least, not in connection with that opinion regarding marriage licenses. As a report by the Austin American-Statesman notes, Paxton still has plenty of legal woes to contend with.

On Tuesday, Aug. 9, prosecutors in the felony case charging Paxton with securities fraud and failing to register with state securities regulators urged the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal appeals court, not to dismiss the charges, as Paxton has asked.

Paxton also faces a separate lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accusing him on federal fraud violations. He has also moved that those charges be dismissed, and a hearing on that motion has been rescheduled for Sept. 2 in the Sherman federal courthouse

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