A Texas judge in Williamson County dismissed a lawsuit last Tuesday filed by the State Bar of Texas (SBOT) against an employee of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The court order dismissing the suit was issued by Judge John Youngblood, and it held that since the SBOT functions as an agent of the state’s judicial branch of government, his own court lacked “subject-matter jurisdiction.”
In a letter to the suit’s parties, Judge Youngblood wrote:
“To find in the [SBOT’s] favor would stand for a limitation of the Attorney General’s broad power to file lawsuits on the State’s behalf, a right clearly supported by the Texas Constitution and recognized repeatedly by Texas Supreme Court precedent.”
The legal dispute stemmed from actions supposedly taken by a top aide of Texas AG Ken Paxton’s, Brent Webster, in a legal challenge to certain election law changes taken by Pennsylvania during the 2020 presidential election.
The disciplinary arm of the SBOT filed a petition against Webster for professional misconduct, accusing him of being dishonest in representations he made to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jim Harrington, an attorney who supported SBOT’s lawsuit, released a statement in response to Judge Youngblood’s decision to dismiss.
As reported by KXAN, Harrington said:
“The logic of the judge’s decision is that, if a lawyer works for the [AG], there is no way to hold the lawyer accountable for ethical violations and professional misconduct. In other words, the [AG’s] office is above the law.”
For his part, AG Ken Paxton celebrated the state court’s decision and accused the SBOT of partisanship:
“The State Bar’s politicization is an insult to all Texans who oppose the abuse of governmental power in pursuit of liberal political retribution. No matter how much the partisan activists at the Texas State Bar retaliate against me and my staff for working to promote election integrity, secure our southern border, and fight for conservative values, I will not back down.”