Weekly News Round Up Of The State’s Top Law Enforcement Officer – Texas Attorney General

Requests and Opinions, Travis County and Texas Child Support Division Conducts Child Support Roundup

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton is the lawyer for the State of Texas and is charged by the Texas Constitution to:

  • defend the laws and the Constitution of the State of Texas
  • represent the State in litigation
  • approve public bond issues

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes.

The Texas AG sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions, and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.

Many Texans look to the Office of the Attorney General for guidance with disputes and legal issues. The agency receives hundreds of letters, phone calls and visits each week about crime victims’ compensation, child support, abuse in nursing homes, possible consumer fraud and other topics. To find out more about the Texas Attorney General, visit the official website at https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/.




AG Paxton Joins 17-State Brief Supporting Lawsuit to Defend the Second Amendment Rights of Citizens

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a 17-state friend-of-the-court brief to defend the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The case challenges New York City’s unconstitutional gun law, which denies millions of Americans their constitutionally-protected right to own a firearm.

New York City requires a costly and restrictive “premises permit” to own a personal handgun for self-defense. The permit prohibits taking the weapon outside the home other than to practice at one of the city’s shooting ranges and prohibits leaving the state with the weapon. An expensive “carry” permit is required to remove a weapon from a home for other purposes and is almost impossible for regular Americans to obtain.

“When municipalities like New York City criminalize basic elements of a constitutional right, they put our entire constitution in danger,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The Second Amendment is foundational to preserving our republic and cannot be so restricted as to render it meaningless.”

In the brief, Attorney General Paxton and the multistate coalition argue that while city and state governments have an interest in public safety and crime prevention, New York City offered no evidence that demonstrated its regulations actually enhance public safety and crime prevention. In fact, its restrictive scheme has the opposite effect by arbitrarily limiting a gun owner’s ability to become proficient with their own weapon, requiring thousands of people to buy additional weapons and causing thousands of weapons to be left in unoccupied houses.

Louisiana authored the brief. Joining Louisiana and Texas on the brief are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, along with the governors of Mississippi and Kentucky.

View a copy of the friend-of-the-court brief here: https://bit.ly/2OgxOLo.

AG Paxton Joins 11-State Brief Supporting Fight Against Job Killing Climate Change Lawsuit

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton this week joined an Indiana-led coalition of 11 states in a friend-of-the-court brief asking a federal judge to dismiss a frivolous lawsuit against the energy industry over the alleged effects of climate change.

King County, Washington brought its lawsuit against several of the largest oil companies in the world under an tenuous public nuisance claim that has been tried before and rejected by the United States Supreme Court.

In their friend-of-the-court brief, Attorney General Paxton and his counterparts take issue with using litigation to harass the energy industry, which, they point out, is already regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They also express concern that the states, as utility owners and power plant operators, may be future defendants in similar actions.

“Cheered on by extreme climate change activists, King County wants to use the courts as a political forum to force its radical climate change agenda on the entire nation while killing jobs and driving up energy costs for ordinary, hardworking Americans,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It is the job of state legislatures and Congress to enact environmental regulations for America, not counties and unelected federal judges.”

In asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to dismiss King County’s lawsuit, the multistate coalition of attorneys general maintain that questions of global climate change and its effects are political questions not suited for resolution by any court.

“King County’s objections to fossil fuel are based in public policy, not law, and are thus inappropriate for judicial resolution,” they conclude in their brief.

View a copy of the friend-of-the-court brief here: https://bit.ly/2y3LgYZ.

AG Paxton Commends Court Decision Striking Down the Unconstitutional and Discriminatory Indian Child Welfare Act

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended a U.S. District Court decision striking down the unconstitutional and discriminatory Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Last October, the attorney general, on behalf of Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana, filed a lawsuit alongside a Texas foster family challenging the constitutionality of ICWA, which imposes race-based restrictions on the adoption of Indian children and impedes the ability of Texas and other states to protect them from harm.

“Today’s ruling protects the best interest of Texas children,” Attorney General Paxton said. “ICWA coerces state agencies and courts to carry out unconstitutional and illegal federal policy, and decide custody based on race.”

The Texas Family Code provides that all cases of custody and adoption must focus on the best interest of the child, and prohibits racial discrimination in child custody cases. However, ICWA – which Congress created  – mandates different rules for custody and adoption cases involving children from federally recognized Native American tribes that could compel a placement that is directly against the best interest of the child.

A non-Native American Texas married couple is the backdrop to Attorney General Paxton’s lawsuit. The family wanted to adopt a two-year-old Native American child they have fostered since he was ten months old.

The child’s biological parents and grandmother supported the adoption. And the court-appointed, neutral guardian ad litem believed placement with the foster family was in the child’s best interest.

But a state court denied the adoption petition because it believed ICWA required a different outcome solely because of the child’s race: to live with an unrelated Native American family with whom he had no previous connection.

After an appeal, the parties settled and the Texas couple adopted the child. The case also involved several other couples and an adult who wanted to adopt foster children but could not because of ICWA.

Last night, the court agreed with Texas and ruled to protect future children on their path to an adoptive home by holding that ICWA and implementing regulations violated several provisions of the constitution and federal law.

The court observed that “[t]his case arises because three children, in need of foster and adoptive placement, fortunately found loving adoptive parents who seek to provide for them. Because of certain provisions of a federal law, however, these three children have been threatened with removal from, in some cases, the only family they know, to be placed in another state with strangers.”

“I applaud the court for ruling this egregious law unconstitutional on multiple grounds, and I commend Attorney General Paxton for his leadership in this fight,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. “Together, we will continue to protect the rule of law and defend our states’ citizens from federal overreach.”

To date, Attorney General Paxton has achieved a final judgment or injunction in 75 percent of his cases against the federal government that are at or near completion.

View the order here:  https://bit.ly/2OywliX.

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