Decoding Texas Politics: Ken Paxton's Eye-Opening Perspective

Conservative Criminal Court of Appeals Candidates

Recently, I had the privilege of listening to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. His speech resonated with me, especially when he drew a fascinating parallel between the structure of our legislature and key biblical texts. "Did you know," he began, "that Texas has 150 House members and 31 senators? And have you ever considered the significance of these numbers?"

Paxton pointed out an intriguing coincidence: the Bible contains 150 Psalms and 31 Proverbs. This parallel struck me as more than mere coincidence. The Psalms, known for their depth and range, depict the rich tapestry of human experiences and emotions in relation to God. This made me ponder: could our 150 House members benefit from a deeper, perhaps more spiritual understanding in their decision-making processes?

Similarly, the 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs, celebrated for their practical wisdom and timeless truths, seemed to mirror the number of senators. It led me to wonder if these senators might find valuable guidance in these ancient texts, applying their wisdom to enhance their personal conduct and character, both in their spiritual and secular duties.

This realization served as a foundational thought, leading me to a more pressing concern about public awareness and engagement in our state's judicial system.

Do you, the reader, know much about the Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas? I must confess, before Paxton's address, my knowledge fell short. Surprisingly, in a room filled with hundreds, only two could name the members of this crucial court. This lack of awareness among even the most informed citizens seemed alarming.

Paxton remarked, with a mix of surprise and concern, that our group represented some of the most educated voters in Texas. Yet, like many others he had spoken to, we lacked a clear understanding of the Court of Criminal Appeals' role and responsibilities. This knowledge gap, he noted, pervaded even the most informed circles. Determined to bridge this gap, Paxton embarked on an enlightening discourse, offering one of the most lucid and informative explanations I've heard in years. Now, let me attempt to encapsulate his enlightening overview.

Texas boasts a unique legal framework known as a bifurcated court system, a concept crucial to understanding the state's judicial process. We stand as one of only two states that distinctly separate civil and criminal appellate jurisdictions. In our system, the Texas Supreme Court stands as the ultimate arbiter for civil cases. While most Texans have some familiarity with this high court, its counterpart in the criminal realm remains shrouded in relative obscurity.

This counterpart, the Court of Criminal Appeals, serves as the final recourse for criminal cases. Despite its significant role in upholding justice and interpreting the law, it surprisingly eludes the public eye and understanding. Paxton's emphasis on this court underscored not just its importance, but also the need for heightened civic awareness and engagement with this vital aspect of our judicial system.

Paxton's engaging lecture then took an interactive turn. He posed a question to the audience: "How many of you can name all nine members of the Court of Criminal Appeals?" This query highlighted a crucial fact: the court consists of nine judges, each serving six-year terms, with three seats up for election every two years. Yet, most of us found ourselves at a loss, unable to name these influential figures. This reality underscored a critical point Paxton aimed to make: a general lack of public awareness about the individuals shaping our legal landscape.

He then delved into a significant decision made by this court, a ruling that cast a spotlight on its profound impact. Two years ago, the court voted 8-1, following the deadline to challenge three Republican incumbents, to overturn a longstanding statute from 1951. This statute, backed by thousands of cases and decades of judicial precedent, authorized the Attorney General, as directed by the legislature, to prosecute voter fraud. The court's majority held that this statute unconstitutionally conflicted with the separation of powers doctrine, arguing that the Attorney General, as part of the executive branch, should not engage in legal proceedings.

Paxton voiced his skepticism of this ruling with a touch of irony, highlighting its absurdity. "Think about it," he said, "if they're right, then the Texas Supreme Court should forbid the Attorney General from representing Texas in the 38,000 civil cases due to this same separation of powers issue." He extended this argument further, noting that, by this logic, every Attorney General in Texas since its inception, and even the U.S. Attorney General, would be in violation of the Constitution. This interpretation, Paxton suggested, seemed not only far-fetched but also indicative of a deeper, possibly politically motivated strategy.

He expressed his suspicion that this decision and the anonymity of the court's members might not occur by chance. "It's so ludicrous, so contrived," Paxton remarked, hinting at a calculated effort behind the scenes. The court's members, primarily elected by district attorneys and requiring relatively modest campaign funds, suggested to Paxton a well-orchestrated plan that nearly reached fruition. This revelation painted a picture of a silent yet powerful force within Texas' judicial system, one that operated with little public scrutiny or recognition.

Paxton then introduced a pivotal element of his narrative: his own role in prosecuting voter fraud in Texas. He revealed that nearly 1,000 cases were active when the Court of Criminal Appeals intervened, effectively halting his efforts. This action, according to Paxton, signified more than just a legal setback; it hinted at a deliberate attempt to undermine the state's legal mechanisms against voter fraud.

"Imagine," he said, "if both the District Attorney and the Attorney General get neutralized by the court's decision. What then remains of our ability to combat voter fraud?" Paxton voiced his concern about the potential implications of such a scenario. He questioned the narrative often heard, which asserts the non-existence of voter fraud, countering it with the reality of the numerous cases in Texas. This contrast, he suggested, indicated a troubling trend that could have far-reaching consequences.

Paxton emphasized the urgency of addressing these issues, linking them to the broader political landscape. He cautioned that if left unaddressed, the combined influence of the House and the Court of Criminal Appeals could lead to significant electoral consequences for Texas. He drew parallels to situations in California and Georgia, where he believed elections were influenced through mail-in ballots, a method Texas had managed to regulate more stringently.

To further illustrate his point, Paxton recounted experiences during President Trump's reelection campaign. He described how, suddenly, a dozen cases emerged in the most liberal counties of Texas. These counties, he claimed, used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to circumvent state laws governing mail-in voting. This situation, according to Paxton, demonstrated a concerted effort to manipulate the voting process, further underscoring the need for vigilance and reform in Texas' electoral system.

Paxton further delved into the intricacies of Texas' mail-in voting laws, underscoring their significance in the context of voter fraud. He explained that under Texas law, eligibility for mail-in voting remains strictly defined: individuals over 65, those out of town, non-felon inmates, and disabled persons qualify. However, he pointed out, some judges during the COVID-19 pandemic chose to interpret these laws more loosely, arguing that the pandemic warranted an exception to the standard rules.

Paxton detailed the legal challenges that ensued. "In every liberal county," he said, "particularly those influenced by Soros and others, we faced obstacles." He described how, upon appealing these cases to the court of appeals, the process slowed down significantly, with decisions delayed, ostensibly waiting for the distribution of mail-in ballots.

He then painted a picture of the potential scale of this issue. In Harris County alone, sending mail-in ballots to all would mean distributing 2.7 million ballots, with similarly high numbers in other counties like Travis and Bexar. This approach, Paxton argued, opened the door to potential fraud due to the lack of stringent checks like signature verification or photo ID requirements – a system he compared to those in states like Georgia and Arizona.

Paxton recounted a crucial conversation with President Trump during this period. He warned the President about the unprecedented nature of these lawsuits and the potential for losing Texas in the elections if these challenges were not overcome. Despite initial skepticism from Trump, Paxton emphasized the critical importance of addressing these mail-in ballot issues nationwide.

The Attorney General ended this part of his speech on a note of triumph: against all odds, they won all 12 cases. This victory, he suggested, played a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the voting process in Texas, demonstrating the importance of vigilance and proactive legal action in safeguarding electoral fairness.

Paxton then described the extraordinary efforts and innovative strategies employed to navigate the complex legal challenges they faced. "We tried unprecedented tactics," he said, conveying a sense of the intense and unconventional legal maneuvering that was required. These efforts, as Paxton narrated, ultimately led to their success.

He recalled the election night with vivid detail, describing his astonishment at seeing states halt their ballot counting for an extended period. "It was unlike anything I'd ever witnessed," he remarked. This experience, he believed, reflected the same tactics they had countered in Texas, suggesting a broader strategy at play in the national electoral process.

Paxton then shifted focus to the future, particularly the importance of winning battles in the Court of Appeals. He emphasized the need for strategic voting, introducing three candidates willing to run for positions on this court: Gina Parker, David Schenk, and Lee Finley. Acknowledging that while no candidate may embody perfection, he urged the audience to support these individuals, emphasizing the simplicity yet significance of this action.

He appealed directly to the audience: "Tell your friends, spread the word. This isn't just about voting; it's about making an informed choice for the future of our state." Paxton's call to action highlighted the critical role of civic engagement and the power of collective effort in shaping judicial outcomes that align with the values and needs of Texans.

Paxton continued, urging the audience to spread the word about the nominated candidates. He stressed the importance of this action, pointing out that many voters often lack sufficient information about judicial candidates. "People have been voting without really knowing who they're voting for," he said. His emphasis on the need for informed choices underscored the pivotal role of public awareness in shaping the state's future.

Turning his attention back to the Texas House, Paxton recounted his efforts to regain authority to prosecute voter fraud cases. He described approaching the Texas Senate to reinstate his power, following a disheartening decision by the Court of Appeals. The Senate passed the bill, but it hit a roadblock in the Texas House, languishing in committee without a hearing. Paxton expressed his frustration, particularly with House Speaker Dave Phelan, whom he struggled to reach and who seemed unresponsive to the bill's urgency.

"This isn't just politics; it's about the future of Texas," Paxton emphasized. He highlighted the necessity of winning not only in the Court of Appeals but also in the Texas House. The goal, he pointed out, involved more than just electoral victory. It required electing representatives who genuinely prioritized the state's needs and the interests of its citizens.

Paxton concluded by praising candidates like Nate and Mike Alcott, whom he believed embodied the commitment and integrity needed in Austin. "They're not going there for personal gain or prestige," he said. "They're going to represent you, to protect the state and their families. They're going for the right reasons." This sentiment captured the essence of Paxton's message: the need for representatives driven by service rather than self-interest, crucial for the well-being and future of Texas. His enthusiasm for this cause, evident throughout his speech, highlighted his deep commitment to addressing these critical issues.

Paxton concluded his address with a reflective and hopeful tone. He shared his moments of contemplation over the summer, where he envisioned the possibility of revealing the truth behind the state's political dynamics. "Maybe I'll get the opportunity to tell people the truth about what's really going on," he mused. This thought, however, often got overshadowed by the pragmatic need to win elections, as he acknowledged the hard reality that change remains unachievable without victory.

His success in the elections, as he described, didn't just signify a personal triumph but also the fulfillment of a deeper aspiration. Paxton portrayed the meeting as one of the most enlightening and impactful he had experienced in his political career. His candidness and direct approach in addressing the audience underscored his commitment to transparency and education in politics.

Paxton emphasized the critical importance of having well-informed citizens and electing representatives who genuinely serve the public interest. He highlighted the necessity of choosing leaders devoid of ulterior motives, those committed to the welfare of Texas and its people. This sentiment resonated as a powerful reminder of the responsibility that lies with both the elected and the electorate.

In summarizing his speech, Paxton left the audience with a compelling call to action. He urged them to become more engaged and informed about the state's political landscape, to make choices that align with the fundamental values and needs of their communities. This meeting, as he noted, served not just as an informative session but as a clarion call for active participation in shaping the future of Texas.