Paxton Picks Liberty Institute Lawyer for Second in Command

If your state's anti-gay, Bible-thumping attorney general is ever in danger of going to prison for, say, securities violations, it's good to have a No. 2 Man who can maintain consistency. 

Texas Attorney Ken "Have I Got a Stock Tip For You!" Paxton announced his No. 2 Wednesday, naming former First Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer as first assistant attorney general.

Matter's appointment "will have immediate impact on the agency, with positive long-term effects that will strengthen our work for Texas for generations," Paxton stated in a press release. 

For some reason, the press release also quoted former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese: "Having worked with Jeff Mateer on major legal issues, I am pleased to learn that he is joining Ken Paxton's fine staff, where I know he will do an excellent job." (Question: Why is one-time anti-porn crusader Meese talking about Mateer's "fine staff"?)

Mateer replaces Chip Roy, who's now leading a super PAC backing Ted Cruz's presidential campaign. (We wish Chip the best of luck with that.)

The new first assistant has carved out a niche as a protector of religious freedoms — in 2007, for example, Mateer and the Liberty Institute rushed to help a group of street preachers whose First Amendment right to stand outside a Beaumont shopping mall and scream about the sin of homosexuality through megaphones was threatened. 

Mateer and Liberty also fought a highly publicized battle against the Kountze school district on behalf of cheerleaders who were barred in 2012 from writing Bible verses on banners displayed at high school football games. (And the Kountze Lions really needed those Bible verses that year, as they finished the season with a disappointing 5-5 record. Apparently, the Lions could do all things through Christ except prevent a 64-10 trouncing by the Newton Eagles.) 

We're just happy for Paxton — if his service is interrupted, he can pass the torch of hate to Mateer, who will keep the AG's Office flaming.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow