Texas Solicitor General Keeps Distance from Election Lawsuit, AG Retains Private Firm

Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins has kept distance from Attorney General Ken Paxton's lawsuit seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court invalidate election results in four battleground states.

The Republican AG has asked the court to allow a motion challenging the results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by allowing each state's lawmakers to choose their electors, instead of the voters. The suit is the latest long shot effort to reverse President Donald Trump's defeat in the swing states that President-elect Biden has already secured.

Paxton's filing on Tuesday did not include the name of Hawkins, who was appointed by Paxton in 2018, and typically argues and defends the state's interests in Supreme Court cases.

Hawkins and his team usually fights the state's most important legal issues across America's highest courtrooms. Last month, he went before the Supreme Court in an effort to toss out the Affordable Care Act.

Ken Paxton testifies before Senate Committee
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks before the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on July 29, 2015. Robert Daemmrich/Getty

Unusually, Paxton, a close ally of Trump, listed himself as the lead attorney, a rare role for any state official who isn't typically involved in significant cases. Brent Webster, the AG's chief deputy also signed the lawsuit, but Hawkins and his deputies are conspicuously missing from the case. Instead, the agency's special counsel is Lawrence Joseph, who appears to be an outside attorney.

Newsweek reached out to Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins' office for comment.

Trump and his closest allies have called the lawsuit a "game changer," however, most legal experts have harshly criticized the challenge, with some calling the suit "insane," "utter garbage," and "a press release masquerading as a lawsuit."

Texas GOP Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, a former Texas AG, have yet to comment, but Governor Greg Abbott has praised the suit. Speaking to a reporter, Abbott said the case "tries to accelerate the process, providing certainty and clarity about the entire election process. The United States of America needs that."

The Attorney Generals of the four states that Paxton sued quickly condemned the effort.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, called Paxton's efforts a "publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, denounced the "beyond meritless, beyond reckless" lawsuit as an "attack on our fair and free election system." Shapiro also called pro-Trump efforts to overturn the election results a "circus."

A spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, said that Paxton was "constitutionally, legally and factually wrong about Georgia."

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said he felt "sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit."