AUSTIN (KXAN) – A complaint that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton violated the law which govern the behavior of attorneys in Texas will be investigated by the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas.
The grievance against Paxton alleges he illegally encouraged Texas officials to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Shortly after the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Paxton sent a letter to County Clerks saying they could refuse to issue marriage licenses if they felt it violated their religious beliefs.
The grievance argues that the letter violated Paxton’s oath to uphold the US Constitution:
In issuing the Opinion in response to Lt. Governor Patrick’s unauthorized request, Attorney General Paxton exceeded the scope of the constitutional and statutory authority of the Office of the Attorney General. Attorney General Paxton also failed to cite in his Opinion either the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution or controlling U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Ignoring decades-old federal law to the contrary, Attorney General Paxton’s Opinion purports to empower Texas state officials to assert individual religious grounds for refusing to perform their official duties. In addition, Attorney General Paxton released public statements in connection with the Opinion that disparaged the U.S. Supreme Court and encouraged state officials to violate their official oaths of office.
The grievance was initially dismissed by the State Bar of Texas but was returned for consideration by the Board of Disciplinary Appeals appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas. If the Chief Disciplinary Counsel determines there is just cause to believe misconduct has occurred, the grievance is referred to a trial.
The grievance was filed by Mynor “Eddie” Rodriguez, Ruth A. Kollman, Steve Fischer and Brian Bouffard following Paxton’s statements.