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A woven photo collage featuring images from left to right and highlights of red. Photo clips include the United States flag, Goddess of Liberty, Judd Stone, Ken Paxton, Donald Trump, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Righting the Rule of Law

Part 3: Under Trump, Texas’ foot soldiers became federal judges, securing a conservative stronghold in the courts

A federal judiciary full of ideological allies is helping Texas block Democratic priorities and advance right-wing legal doctrines. But the bigger prize is conservative control of the rule of law itself.

Righting the Rule of Law

This article is part of a three-part series on the Texas Office of the Attorney General and its impact on the federal courts. We recommend reading them in order.

 More in this series 

Transforming the district courts

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In a still image from a video, Matthew Kacsmaryk, deputy counsel for the First Liberty Institute, answers questions during his nomination hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13, 2017.

Changes to the Fifth Circuit

Kyle Duncan appears before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 29, 2017.
Texas judges Don R. Willett and James C. Ho are sworn in during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to confirm them to the 5th Circuit Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 15, 2017.
Andrew S. Oldham testifies as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to confirm him as United States Circuit Judge for the 5th Circuit, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 25, 2018.

"Our soldiers are lawyers"

Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins leaves the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, center right, walks with Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone II, center left, and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, right, to a press conference at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2022. Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Texas v. Texas, the enforcement of the Trump-era “remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico as they waited for hearings in U.S. immigration court. (Eric Lee for The Texas Tribune).
Texas' new federal judges have had profound impact on matters of LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, abortion and industrial pollution.
A collection of bobblehead figurines in the likeness of judges who have won the Jurist of the Year award inside the office of the Texas Solicitor General on Sept. 14, 2018.

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Courts Attorney General's Office Greg Abbott John Cornyn Ted Cruz