Texas AG Paxton under the Microscope

It seems fair to say that statewide Texas politicians of the Republican variety are having some legal troubles.

Some of them have led to full-blown legal proceedings, like former Governor Rick Perry’s pending criminal charge, the civil fine against Attorney General Ken Paxton from the Texas State Securities Board (for an incident that occurred before he was elected), and the criminal securities fraud complaint filed against AG Paxton by Texans for Public Justice (which goes before a grand jury soon).

Some have remained in the realm of allegations and suspicions, like current Governor Greg Abbott’s alleged misconduct with regard to the Texas Enterprise Fund when he was Attorney General. I’m not sure if any formal complaints are currently pending against Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick—which is not to say he hasn’t had complaints (PDF file) before—but he sure does know how to stir people up.

"SCOTUS Marriage Equality 2015 (Obergefell v. Hodges) - 26 June 2015" by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA (SCOTUS Marriage Equality 2015 58151) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Most recently notorious, I’d say, is AG Paxton’s official opinion (PDF file here or here), issued on June 28, 2015 in response to a request from LG Patrick, regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and the Fifth Circuit’s order affirming that ruling in De Leon v. Abbott. Continue reading


This Week in WTF, February 6, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 2 of 3).

– I’m Not Sure What These Are For: Have you ever thought that your poop just didn’t quite sparkle enough? If that describes you, (1) please don’t ever speak to me, and (2) do not consume these Glitter Pills:

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

The Etsy page says it quite clearly: Continue reading


Actually, It’s About Ethics in Lawyering

St. Louis County, MO prosecutor Robert McCulloch may be the subject of an ethics complaint over his arguably less-than-zealous presentation to the Darren Wilson grand jury. I like John Cole’s suggestion for how to handle the complaint:

I have an idea. They could run the ethics meeting just like he ran the Grand Jury. Just throw all the information out there and let them decide. And they could only interview the people who think he has done wrong. I mean, apparently that is how you run these sorts of things.

Cole kind of has it backwards—if they ran the ethics complaint the way McCulloch ran the grand jury proceeding, the Missouri State Bar would pretty much take McCulloch’s side, but I know what he’s getting at.


When therapists don’t want to do their jobs

Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton want to be therapists, but they don’t want to help icky gay people because Jesus.

State legislators, purporting to know more about the ethics of these professions than the professionals themselves, want to make it legal to discriminate based on “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” One suspects that it has not occurred to most of them that this could apply to people who don’t think just like them.

If someone who wants to enter into a profession with a duty to help people, but just can’t seem to let go of certain Bronze Age superstitions, I hardly see how that is their patients’ problem, but that is exactly what they want to do. Some of them want to foist their ideology onto patients, but I rather doubt they’d entertain attempts by those patients to present their side of things.

Now, being a good American, I support the right of people to believe whatever crazy crap they want, so long as they don’t hurt other people. And that’s the problem here.

This hurts people.

This really, really hurts people.

So I have a compromise.

If a doctor, therapist, dentist, etc. just can’t get over the fact that the patient in front of them has a sexual orientation that is different from theirs (or some other perfectly-legal activity they just can’t keep from meddling in), they don’t have to treat them.

But the patient doesn’t have to pay them.

And because this rejection is highly likely to hurt the patient, the devout professional has to recommend an alternate professional that they know will treat the patient.

One more thing: in consideration of the fact that the devout professional has clearly wasted the patient’s time, the professional has to pay for the first session with the new professional. Because you have the right to believe what you want, but you cannot foist that upon a person in need who is relying on your professional skill–and if you just have to try anyway, it will cost you. Your professional license is a privilege, not a right.

(Preferably, devout professionals should disclose their prejudices in their marketing materials, but let’s see how you handle this responsibility first.)

If everyone can agree on that, then the Juleas and Jennifers of the world can let their freak flags fly, and the rest of us won’t be quite as bothered.