Press Release: National Lawyers’ Group Calls for Bar Discipline of Texas AG Paxton and Fellow State AGs
Photo Credit: Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD), a nationally-recognized, nonpartisan organization, has issued a statement seeking disciplinary action against Texas Attorney General Paxton, his 17 AG colleagues and lawyer members of Congress who have filed or supported AG Paxton’s lawsuit aimed at overturning the results of the presidential election.
Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor and expert on ethical rules governing lawyers and judges, states:
“Judicial time is a precious resource. To protect it, ethics rules forbid lawyers to file garbage claims. Government lawyers must be especially vigilant. Texas’s Supreme Court petition was a political campaign document in legal camouflage. Lawyers who filed or joined it ill-treated the Court, harmed the rule of law, and ill-served the public. Disciplinary investigation is necessary.”
Deborah L. Rhode, Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and Director, Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford University, adds:
“This statement is crucial in the effort to hold lawyers accountable for gross abuses of the legal process. Bar disciplinary authorities have been notoriously unwilling to publicly sanction prominent lawyers for frivolous legal claims, and the proceedings can take years to resolve. That needs to change, particularly where the conduct is so egregious and the stakes are so high for public confidence in the rule of law, the democratic process, and lawyers’ ethics. The actions of Trump lawyers have shamed the profession, and it is important for leading members of the profession to take a stand that reaffirms the bar’s highest aspirations.”
Lucas Powe, Professor of Law, University of Texas Law School and Professor of Government, University of Texas:
“Every Constitutional lawyer knew the lawsuit was frivolous; the AG’s office should have known that, too.”
Jordan M. Steiker, Law Professor, University of Texas Law School:
“In constitutional democracies, courts remain open to enforce important norms. The Texas effort to reverse the outcome of our presidential election, without any plausible grounds in fact or law to justify that result, amounts to an abuse of our courts (even where the courts are able to quickly reject the meritless claims). Worse still is the apparent goal of sowing doubt about the election’s outcome and to use the availability of our courts as a weapon against democracy itself.”
Today’s statement follows an Open Letter LDAD released last week signed by over 4,000 attorneys nationwide. That Letter called on bar associations to condemn, and bar disciplinary authorities to investigate, the conduct of President Trump’s campaign lawyers.
About Lawyers Defending American Democracy
Founded in 2019, Lawyers Defending American Democracy is a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to fostering adherence to the rule of law. LDAD has issued a variety of Open Letters and statements calling for adherence by public officials to the fundamental principles of American democracy and encouraging fellow lawyers, the leaders of bar associations, and the legal academy to join in speaking out against threats to these principles.
In July, LDAD co-authored the ethics complaint against Attorney General William Barr filed with the DC Bar and endorsed by four former DC Bar presidents. Gary Ratner, LDAD’s co-founder, was the lead signer. All letters, statements and briefs are available at lawyersdefendingdemocracy.org/statements/.