Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued a letter urging the State Bar of Texas to drop any consideration of American Bar Association Model Rule 8.4(g). The letter warns that the proposed rule threatens the individual liberty of Texas lawyers and is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
In December 2016, Attorney General Paxton issued an opinion describing the Rule’s glaring unlawfulness. And in 2018, the United States Supreme Court concluded that state restrictions on “professional speech” are presumptively unconstitutional because they are content-based restrictions on speech. Despite these rulings, the Texas Bar is set to consider on Thursday whether to refer Model Rule 8.4(g) to a committee for further consideration.
“The proposed Rule is broad enough to extend beyond judicial proceedings to include participation in education panel discussions, authoring law review articles, or even informal conversations at a bar association event. It effectively suppresses honest and thoughtful exchanges about complex issues,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Methods of addressing attorney discrimination already exist, rendering the proposed Rule not just unconstitutional, but wholly unnecessary.”
Read a copy of the letter here.