This is a call-to-action regarding the Texas Senate Jury trial of Ken Paxton, impeached by the Texas House on May 27, 2023.
The Texas Senate will hold the impeachment trial against Attorney General Ken Paxton no later than Aug. 28 and will require a two-thirds majority vote for conviction in order to remove Paxton from office.
The Texas House approved the following 12 House Reps. who will serve as prosecutors during the trial:
Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, chair
Rep. Ann Johnson, D-Houston, vice chair
Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth
Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen
Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission
Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas
Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Houston
Rep. Cody Vasut, R-Angleton
Rep. David Spiller, R-Jacksboro
Rep. Erin Elizabeth Gámez, D-Brownsville
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named seven senators to serve on a special rules committee for the Senate’s impeachment trial. The chair will be Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury and Sen. “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, will serve as vice chair. Other members are Sens. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, Pete Flores, R-Pleasanton, Joan Huffman, R-Houston, Phil King, R-Weatherford, and Royce West, D-Dallas. The Senate will consider impeachment rules on June 20. The trial must start by August 28.
The Texas Constitution allows for impeachment but what do subsequent statutes and court rulings indicate?
First, Texas statute addresses acts committed before the most recent election. Texas Government Code 665.081 has been referred to as the “forgiveness doctrine” since it defines respect for the electoral decisions of voters:
“Sec. 665.081. NO REMOVAL FOR ACTS COMMITTED BEFORE ELECTION TO OFFICE. (a) An officer in this state may not be removed from office for an act the officer may have committed before the officer’s election to office.”
In 1924, the Texas Supreme Court made this point in Reeves v. State of Texas Ex Rel. Mason, 267 S.W. 666 (Tex. 1924). Click here to read, paying particular attention to the 3rd and 4th paragraphs from the end of the document.
Texas House impeachment process deeply flawed
Texas House impeachment procedures were inadequate and rushed, with witnesses testifying without being put under oath and no cross-examination of witnesses. We learned this during questioning of State Rep. Andy Murr (R–Kerrville), Chair of the House General Investigating Committee, by State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler). Oddly, key people cited by the investigation were never even called as witnesses. Click here to read the exchange between Schaefer and Murr recorded in the House Journal starting on page 5635. If you continue to read, you will see further questioning of the process by Reps. Tinderholt and Schatzline.
Take Action – Contact Republican Senators
Urge Republican Senators to focus on the law and to contrast that with the rushed “backroom” House process as the Senate conducts their own due diligence.
Urge them to avoid any appearance of merely providing cover for their Republican House colleagues who refused to proceed with transparency, due process, and time for Representatives to study the matter before voting.
Texans should be able to trust the actions of Republicans to comply with the law as they embark on such a sobering and serious matter as removing a statewide official from office. Republican Senators must not yield to media, lobbyists, or Uni-party operatives to carry out this serious judicial procedure.
Action 1: Write an encouraging and respectful personal “snail mail” letter to Republican Senators expressing your concerns. Why? Your personal “snail mail” letters in hand-addressed envelopes get attention because they are so rare! Time to message them the old-fashioned way! Click here to find their addresses.
Action 2: Email the Republican Senators. Why? Don’t put all your eggs in the postal delivery basket! Make sure these Republican Senators receive your encouragement! Click here to email all Republican Senators.
Be sure to remember that Texas State Senators cannot reply back to you or comment on the case. (See the inserted graphic of their May 27 statement above.)
Thank you so much for taking action when you are tired of Austin and tired of political noise in general!
Praying for Truth and Righteousness to prevail in all things,