The editorial board of a major Texas newspaper published a scathing piece on Friday criticizing Southwest State Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, after he urged supporters of My Pillow founder Mike Lindell to “harass” the judges who had ruled against him.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — the state’s highest court for criminal cases — ruled 8-1 on Dec. 15, finding that Paxton could not unilaterally pursue the election cases. Paxton, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, has been a leading proponent of baseless claims that the 2020 election was plagued by widespread voter fraud.
In response to the GOP-dominated court ruling, Paxton appeared on Lindell TV and right-wing strategist Steve Bannon Crisis unit podcast earlier this month and urged viewers and listeners to pressure the court’s conservative justices. “Call them by name,” Paxton told Lindell TV on Jan. 17. “I mean, you can look them up. There are eight who voted the wrong way. Call them, mail, email.”
The editorial board of The Telegram from the Star of Fort-Worth called the pro-Trump attorney general on his actions in a Friday post. The headline of the opinion piece was: “How many new ways can Texas AG Ken Paxton find to disobey the rule of law?”
Paxton “irresponsibly suggests that the court – made up, again, of nine of his fellow Republicans – is part of a broad left-wing conspiracy,” the editorial board argued.
“The AG has a reasonable legal disagreement with the court’s decision. But he also really likes to pretend he’s dealing big blows against a vast ring of voter fraud that doesn’t exist. It’s dangerous and inappropriate from sic supporters policies on judges,” they wrote. “We don’t make case law based on the passion of the mob or the political majority. It’s fine to protest a decision, argue to overturn it, and even work to defeat the responsible judges at the ballot box.”
The editors added that Paxton did “everything for the 2020 election lies”. They noted that the allegation of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election has “been dismissed by every court called upon to examine it. One should be skeptical of any conspiracy that would require so many participants on so many levels. The coordinating and keeping it secret would be next to impossible.”
The editorial noted that Paxton had previously “thrown the preposterous idea that the Supreme Court should let Texas meddle in other states’ elections. And he missed no opportunity to side with Trump.” The column also reminded readers that the Republican official was accused of “corruption and attempting to help a campaign contributor” by a former senior official.
“Ken Paxton keeps telling us he’s above the law, the rule of law is optional, and a conspiracy has taken place against the evidence. Republican primary voters, are you listening?” concluded the editorial board.
Vincent Johnson, a law professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, previously said Austin American Statesman that Paxton’s actions may have violated strict Texas rules governing contact between judges and attorneys.
“If the attorney can’t communicate with the court, the attorney can’t get someone else to communicate with the court to enforce the same message,” Johnson said. told the newspaper.
In December 2020, Paxton filed a highly controversial lawsuit with the Supreme Court, asking the nation’s highest judicial body to overturn election results in four battleground states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. . President Joe Biden beat Trump in all four states, and the former president and his allies falsely claimed it was due to widespread voter fraud. The conservative-controlled Supreme Court dismissed Paxton’s lawsuit.
Since then, Trump, Paxton, Lindell and many other conservatives have continued to promote the conspiracy theory that Biden only won the last presidential election because it was “rigged” or “robbed”. They have provided no evidence to support the allegation, and more than 60 legal challenges to the election have failed in state and federal courts.
Meanwhile, audits and recounts across the country — including in regions where the election was overseen by pro-Trump Republicans — have consistently reaffirmed Biden’s victory over Trump. Former attorney general William Barr, who was widely considered one of the most loyal members of Trump’s cabinet, drew backlash from Biden supporters after he asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of electoral fraud. However, Barr concluded in December 2020 that there was “no evidence” of widespread fraud that would change the outcome of the election.
Nevertheless, millions of voters continue to believe the lies of Trump and his allies about the 2020 election results. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Republicans believe the false claims and do not view Biden as the rightful president. .
Newsweek contacted Paxton’s office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.