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Thursday
Apr202017

AG Paxton Leads 11-State Coalition to Defend the First Amendment on Climate Change Policy Debate 

AUSTIN – Leading an 11-state coalition, Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to support the First Amendment rights of Dallas-based ExxonMobil Corporation. The brief explains that the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York exceeded their constitutional authority by attempting to shut down a viewpoint on an issue of scientific debate – climate change. 

Last year, at the “AGs United for Clean Power” press conference, a coalition of liberal state attorneys general announced plans to use their official authority to target one side of the policy debate on climate change. Such overt use of governmental power to silence particular viewpoints is a blatant violation of the Constitution. 

Following through with their promise, the Massachusetts attorney general issued a Civil Investigative Demand and her New York counterpart issued a subpoena against ExxonMobil for its “marketing and sale of fossil fuel-derived products and securities,” demanding more than 40 years of internal company documents. ExxonMobil is seeking to block the Civil Investigative Demand from being enforced. The case, which was originally filed in federal court in Dallas, was transferred recently to a federal court in Manhattan. 

In their friend-of-the-court brief, Attorney General Paxton and 10 other state attorneys general asked the court to allow ExxonMobil to proceed with its case and reject motions by the Massachusetts and New York attorneys general to dismiss the proceedings.

“The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts such as this one, where officials use their authority and the threat of criminal prosecution to try and suppress speech on a viewpoint they disagree with,” Attorney General Paxton said. 

In addition to Texas, the other states who joined the amicus brief are Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Arkansas.  

View a copy of the amicus brief here

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