TX Gov. Greg Abbott names John Scott as temporary attorney general following Ken Paxton’s historic impeachment

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday elected a longtime ally who oversaw the 2022 Texas election as interim attorney general following the historic impeachment of Republican Ken Paxton on fraud and criminal charges.

John Scott, who stepped down as Texas secretary of state last year, became the state’s top attorney on an interim basis, while Paxton awaits a trial in the state Senate that could result in a permanent ban. The trial is scheduled to begin by August 28 at the latest.

Paxton was impeached by the Texas House of Representatives last weekend and was suspended immediately.

A week after House Republicans began impeachment proceedings, Mr. Abbott has kept quiet about Paxton. The governor announced Scott’s appointment in a statement, but did not mention Paxton or comment on the charges against him.

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“John Scott has the background and experience necessary to serve as a short-term interim Attorney General while the Attorney General is on suspension,” Abbott said.

Scott has been a trusted person at Abbott for over 10 years. He served as state litigator when Abbott was attorney general, and when Abbott’s election for secretary of state fell through in 2019 due to voter roll failures, the governor turned to Scott instead. .

Texas Secretary of State John B. Scott on February 10, 2022 in Austin, Texas. Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed Scott as Texas Attorney General on May 31, 2023, temporarily following the House’s impeachment of Ken Paxton. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

At the time, the appointment alarmed voter groups over Scott’s short tenure as part of President Donald Trump’s legal team, which challenged the 2020 election results. Scott dismissed the lawsuit in just days, saying he had no dispute that President Joe Biden had won the election.

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Mr. Paxton survived years of scandal and won three statewide attorney general elections with party support until he was suddenly ousted from power by a vote in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives.

The vote comes after a months-long investigation by the House of Representatives against the Attorney General, which brought 20 indictments accusing him of widespread abuses, including obstruction of justice, bribery and abuse of public trust.

Mr Paxton criticized the impeachment as an attempt to “subvert the will of the people and disenfranchise the voters of the state”. He said the charges were based on “hearsay and gossip parroting long-disproved claims.”


Texas senators will serve on a “jury” in Mr. Paxton’s upcoming trial, one of which could be Mr. Paxton’s wife, State Senator Angela Paxton. It is unclear if she will participate in the trial.

During his one-year tenure as Texas election administrator, Scott was tasked with trying to give voters confidence in election results and their ability to vote after Republicans passed sweeping new voting laws. . Those efforts got off to a tumultuous start as voters struggled to meet new mail-in ballot requirements in Texas’ first primary, resulting in the county scrapping about 23,000 mail-in ballots.

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