So, now AG Paxton and Mr. Cole, head of the Department of Health Services, have agreed to implement policies which will ensure no other gay or lesbian citizens will be denied requests to amend death certificates. The state officers say they will implement these new policies within just a couple of days. In turn, Judge Garcia agreed to postpone the hearing until Sept. 10. Ken Paxton will not have to appear and explain his legal advice. The state officials must now confer with the lawyers for John Allen Stone-Hoskins regarding those policies. Mr. Stone-Hoskins is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Mr. Paxton had asked to be excused from the hearing, saying a lower ranking official would be more familiar with the issues. See San Antonio Express News report. That is not good leadership. Asking subordinates to fall on their sword for the big boss does not set a good example.
I think this counts as one of those “oops” moments. AG Paxton issued legal advice to county clerks, allowing them to disregard the Supreme Court decision, if they chose. Judge Garcia then reminded the AG that no, Supreme Court decisions must be followed. Now, the AG seems to be in agreement with the judge. I previously wrote about this unfolding legal drama here and here.