Already under indictment for securities fraud, [Texas] Attorney General [Ken] Paxton is currently caught up in yet another corruption investigation — one that has roiled his office. Now, he has filed a lawsuit so frivolous and so blatantly political that the top appellate lawyers in his office evidently declined to endorse it. To be clear, though, this does not mean questions about election-law improprieties are frivolous.
Texas has a remedy for this: impeaching Ken Paxton. Lawyers can be disbarred for filing abusive, frivolous lawsuits, but Paxton is no mere lawyer. He may be campaigning for a pardon from President Trump, but such a pardon would not prevent the Texas legislature from removing him from office.
The rules in Texas are different from the rules at the federal level, as the Texas Tribune describes:
If a state official was impeached by the Texas House, they would be removed from office until after the Senate had held a trial and judged the House’s impeachment. It’s right there in the Texas Constitution: “All officers against whom articles of impeachment may be preferred shall be suspended from the exercise of the duties of their office, during the pendency of such impeachment. The governor may make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy, occasioned by the suspension of an officer until the decision on the impeachment.”
The Dallas Morning News called for Paxton’s resignation back in November, before this frivolous lawsuit was filed. Paxton’s performance in office, the Morning News argues, “raises questions of whether he can do the job and whether the people of the state of Texas reasonably can have faith in him to do the job. The answer to both questions is a resounding no.”
But Paxton is not going to resign.
How much of this lunacy, irresponsibility, and incompetence are Republicans in Texas — and elsewhere — willing to put up with? The answer, apparently, is: quite a lot of it.