House Dems seeking re-election seemingly reverse course, call on Biden to ‘bring order to the southern border’

Five vulnerable Democrats who voted against measures to strengthen border security in the past have seemingly changed their tune as they seek re-election to their posts in the lower chamber.

Following President Biden's signing of a $95 billion package with aid to both Ukraine and Israel last week, five Democrats – Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, Mary Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Don Davis of North Carolina – released a joint statement agreeing with calls for Congress and the president to "act and bring order to the southern border."

"Beyond defending our allies, we strongly agree with the National Border Patrol Council that Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border," the lawmakers stated. "That is why we also voted for H.R. 3602 on Saturday, and why we all voted last month for $19.6 billion for Border Patrol so that it could ramp up its efforts to secure the border."

The comments from the five Democrats – three of whom (Golden, GluesenKamp, and Davis) are engaged in tough re-election battles that have been labeled "toss up" races by the Cook Political Report, and another two (Peltola and Gonzalez) competing in races labeled "lean Democrat" – came after each one of them voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023.


That bill, which passed in the House, would have expanded the type of crimes that make someone ineligible for asylum, limited the eligibility to those who arrive at ports of entry, mandated a system similar to the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, and created additional penalties for visa overstay.

In addition to not supporting the Secure the Border Act, the same five Democrats voted on two different occasions against GOP-led efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many Republicans have argued is largely responsible for the migrant crisis at the southern border.

Certain Democrats, like Gluesenkamp Perez, who was first elected to Congress in 2022 and co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition with Golden and Peltola, have made dismissive comments about the border crisis in recent years.

The Washington lawmaker previously faced criticism from Republicans over border-related comments she made in March 2023 during an appearance on Pod Save America, which came prior to the ending of the Title 42 public health order.

"Listen, nobody stays awake at night worrying about the southern border," she said at the time. "That's just not… people stay awake at night worrying that their kid is gonna relapse or that, you know, someone's going to drop out of school or they're going to lose their house."

Gluesenkamp Perez was also one of many Democrats who defended Mayorkas amid calls for his impeachment earlier this year, saying it was "frustrating to see" Republicans push for his ouster because "he doesn't set policy, he implements it."

Despite her past remarks, Gluesenkamp Perez has been critical of Biden's handling of the border crisis in recent months, saying in April that she voted in support of H.R. 3602, which provides for criminal penalties for certain conduct that interferes with U.S. border control measures, because "President Biden has failed to end the crisis at our Southern Border."

"Every country has an obligation to protect its citizens and secure its sovereign borders, and H.R. 3602 focuses on the urgent need to restore operational control of the Southern Border. Unlike the unworkable and un-American immigration proposals pushed by far-right extremists, this bipartisan bill doesn’t create burdensome government mandates that would harm small businesses, agricultural employers, rural communities, and our economy," she said at the time.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a member of the congresswoman's press team insisted that she has "called on the [Biden] Administration her entire time in office to fix the crisis at our Southern Border, and for Congress to do its job to pass meaningful border security legislation."


The spokesperson also touted the Washington lawmaker's introduction of the "Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act to restore operational control at the Southern Border by restoring expulsion authority for Border Patrol and requiring the President to reinstate Remain in Mexico," as well as her support for the End Fentanyl Act.

"Marie continues to urge Congress to get back to work to address the real crisis at our border and end the petty gamesmanship," the spokesperson said.

Gonzalez is another Democrat who made dismissive remarks prior to the expiration of Title 42, which provided the ability for American officials to bar migrants from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a July 2023 stop in Edinburgh, Texas, Gonzalez reportedly shot down questions and concern over whether Biden was doing enough to secure the southern border amid an overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants.

"We have seen major improvements along the border.… If you go to the border now, in our region, it’s pretty unremarkable what you see," Gonzalez said, according to the Rio Grande Guardian. "When they lifted Title 42 and implemented Title 7, which I advocated against… I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. What the president did, what Secretary Mayorkas has done, has positively impacted our border and that’s a fact."

"People could point fingers and say things, but the reality is, undocumented crossings are down by 70%," he added at the time.

A little more than a week after Gonzalez gave those remarks, the Texas Tribune reported that Border Patrol agents "made more than 130,000 arrests along the Mexico border [in July 2023], preliminary figures show, up from 99,545 in June."

Gonzalez is one of 154 Democrats who voted this January against the Agent Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act, which would have created hefty federal penalties for illegal migrants who evade U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during motor vehicle pursuits. The measure was named after a Border Patrol officer who died in a vehicle crash in Texas last year during a pursuit.

Along with Golden and Gluesenkamp Perez, Gonzalez was one of 201 Democrats who voted in July 2023 against the Schools Not Shelters Act, which would have prohibited "the use of the facilities of a public elementary school, a public secondary school, or an institution of higher education to provide shelter for aliens who have not been admitted into the United States, and for other purposes."

Peltola joined 218 Republicans in voting in favor of that measure at the time, while Davis did not vote.

"I remain dedicated to addressing the border crisis. However, we must not inflict harm on American agriculture in the process," Davis said in a statement to Fox. "Initially, I had concerns about the e-verify provision in HR-2, but it was removed, allowing me to fully lend my support, along with just four other Democrats, to H.R. 3602, the Bipartisan End the Border Catastrophe Act."

Asked whether he believes Biden is responsible for the border crisis, Davis said his "votes speak for themselves."

CBP records show the first six months of fiscal year 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal year 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters.

Vulnerable House Dems do a U-turn on illegal immigration after calling crisis ‘non-existent threat’

A handful of vulnerable House Democrats, all of whom dismissed concern about the southern border crisis and voted against measures to enhance border security in the past, have attempted to show their attention to the issue as they campaign for re-election.

Three Democrats in competitive House races this election cycle — Reps. Yadira Caraveo, D-Colo., Gabe Vasquez, D-N.M., and Eric Sorenson, D-Ill. — have introduced bills, resolutions and amendments over the last year that would do little to limit the flow of migrants entering the country illegally, but they acknowledge the crisis.

Caraveo, who represents Colorado's 8th Congressional District, introduced a package of legislation earlier this year pertaining to some of the immigration struggles facing the United States.

The first-term lawmaker introduced two bills — the HELP for Interior Cities ACT and the ANTI-Drugs Act — in February and insisted both pieces of legislation address "the needs of Colorado communities in the wake of a recent increase in migrant arrivals."


"This comprehensive plan would deliver funding to interior cities like Denver that are in need of support, reduce the financial burden placed on local governments, and stem the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. It would also deliver much-needed funding to law enforcement both at the border and here in Colorado," she said of the measures at the time.

The HELP for Interior Cities ACT does little to address the flow of migrants entering the country and provides additional funding for migrant shelters located in cities not found along the border. The ANTI-Drugs Act, however, would make an already-existing Department of Homeland program titled "Operation Stonegarden" permanent and give law enforcement agencies grants for equipment and "personnel, including overtime and backfill, in support of enhanced border law enforcement activities."

Prior to introducing the measures, Caraveo was one of 211 Democrats who voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023. That measure, which passed in the House, would have expanded the type of crimes that make someone ineligible for asylum, limited the eligibility to those who arrive at ports of entry, mandated a system similar to the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system and created additional penalties for visa overstay.

Caraveo was also one of 210 House Democrats who voted against a GOP-led effort in the House to impeach Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.

During her previous tenure in the Colorado state House of Representatives, Caraveo joined other Democrats from across the nation to send a letter urging the Biden administration to relax immigration rules and "divest from immigration enforcement agencies like ICE and CBP."

Another Democrat who has brought attention to the issue in recent months is Vasquez, who represents New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District.

Earlier this month, Vasquez introduced a resolution that "condemns Republican inaction on common-sense solutions to our Nation’s broken immigration system and the challenges our Nation faces at the border."

Like Caraveo, Vasquez voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023. Last October, however, he introduced a package of immigration bills amid a skyrocketing number of illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. border. Those measures aimed to increase penalties for smugglers and cartels who engage in violent crimes, provide pathways for certain migrants to lawfully work in the U.S. and fund additional personnel at ports of entry.


Prior to joining Congress, Vasquez lashed out at then-President Trump amid immigration woes in 2018 and insisted the idea of "sending the military to quell a non-existent threat" is "beyond stupid."

In a November 2020 post to Twitter, now known as X, Vasquez responded to one social media user who called for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection by writing, "the only ICE we need to be melting."

Vasquez was also one of many Democrats who applauded President Biden's decision to terminate construction of a border wall along the southern border. In a January 2021 post on social media, he said, "As of today, all construction on this racist, environmentally destructive, massive waste of money comes to a grinding halt. This vanity project was little more than a glorification of xenophobia and an insult to border communities. Lets tear it down."

Like Caraveo and Vasquez, Sorensen, who represents Illinois' 17th Congressional District, voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which would have largely increased the total number of CBP agents.

Sorensen introduced two amendments to the Secure the Border Act — one that would require the hiring, training and assigning of "not fewer than 500 additional CBP officers" at points of entry and another that would have appropriated $25 million to "improve coordination" and "expand" a fentanyl task force.

Both amendments were not considered prior to a vote on the bill in the House, and Sorensen cited a lack of bipartisan cooperation in voting against the legislation.

After introducing the amendments, Sorensen went on to vote "nay" on impeachment efforts against Mayorkas earlier this year.

Sorensen, like most of his colleagues on his side of the aisle, has expressed opposition to the Trump-proposed idea of a southern border wall. In a November 2019 post promoting an Illinois restaurant, he wrote, "We don’t need border walls, we need more pancakes and burritos!"

Last July, Sorensen joined 201 other Democrats, including Vasquez and Caraveo, in voting against a measure that would have prevented the use of facilities of certain schools that receive federal financial assistance to provide shelter or housing to illegal immigrants. Additionally, the trio of Democrat lawmakers rejected a measure that aimed to prohibit the federal government from using certain federally administered lands to provide housing for illegal immigrants.

Caraveo and Vasquez are both seeking re-election to their seats that have been labeled "Democrat Toss Up" by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analyst. Sorensen's seat has been labeled as "Lean Democrat."

CBP records show the first six months of fiscal year 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal year 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters.

Caraveo, Vasquez and Sorenson did not respond to Fox News Digital's requests for comment.

Committee discourages impeachment of Vermont sheriff accused of kicking suspect

A special legislative committee recommended against impeachment Tuesday of a Vermont sheriff charged with assault for kicking a shackled prisoner but said the sheriff is doing a disservice by remaining in office.

A resolution to be introduced in the House by committee members on Wednesday urges Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore to resign "for the good of the people of Franklin County."

"While the Committee is not recommending articles of impeachment for Sheriff Grismore, they made it clear that Mr. Grismore remaining in office is a detriment to the citizens of Franklin County," House Speaker Jill Krowinski said in a statement. "The Committee heard from many individuals, and while the report lays out a list of concerning actions that are completely unacceptable of an elected official, it does not meet the high bar for impeachment."


Grismore did not immediately return an email seeking comment. He told WCAX-TV that the recommendation not to pursue articles of impeachment is a vindication of what he knew all along.

Grismore was elected sheriff in November 2022, a few months after he was fired from his position as a captain in the sheriff’s department for kicking a shackled prisoner. He pleaded not guilty to a simple assault charge.

Grismore was the only candidate on the ballot after winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the Aug. 9, 2022, primary. Just before he took office in February 2023, state police said they were investigating the finances of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Grismore.

In December, the Vermont Criminal Justice Council found that he violated the state’s use of force policy and voted 15-1 that he permanently lose his law enforcement certification, which means he is unable to enforce the law in Vermont. A special legislative committee was formed last May to investigate possible impeachment.

The committee said in the report released Tuesday that it believes it's important for a sheriff to be able to fulfill law enforcement duties and should get ongoing law enforcement training, which is not available to a decertified officer. It also said it believes that a sheriff should show and uphold "the highest standards of honesty, integrity, conduct, and service."

"Through his conduct prior to taking office and his continued insistence that his use of force was appropriate, Mr. Grismore demonstrates none of these," the committee said.

Utah school board member who questioned a student’s gender censured by lawmakers

The Utah Legislature voted Thursday to censure a conservative member of the state Board of Education whose social media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player triggered threats against the girl and led state officials to call for the board member's resignation.

Lawmakers passed a resolution condemning the actions of Natalie Cline a day after the Utah State Board of Education voted unanimously to strip Cline of her committee assignments and nearly all administrative responsibilities. The board will no longer allow Cline to attend meetings or place items on the agenda, and her colleagues have asked her to resign by Feb. 19.

The legislative reprimand, which now heads to the governor's desk, carries no real punishment but is a formal way for lawmakers to express their disapproval. The measure received unanimous support in the Senate after passing the House with only two votes against, one from a Democrat and the other from a Republican.


Both the Legislature and Board of Education have left it up to Cline whether to resign or remain in her role with limited authority. She is up for reelection in November. Democrats had urged the Republican legislative leaders to punish Cline more harshly, either by impeaching her or by allowing the board to impeach her — a power it does not currently have.

Cline, who had previously come under investigation for inflammatory comments about LGBTQ+ students, singled out the Salt Lake City athlete in a Facebook post that falsely insinuated the girl was transgender. After she learned that the girl was not trans, Cline apologized for provoking a firestorm of vulgar comments.

House Speaker Mike Schultz, a Hooper Republican, said ahead of the vote that members of his chamber were "scattered" on whether to impeach Cline or allow voters to decide her future in the fall.

"If this body moves ahead with impeachment, this blows up like a mushroom cloud on the national stage," Schultz said. "The hate that you’re seeing directed toward that family right now then becomes national. That’s a hard decision to make."

House Minority Leader Angela Romero said she was frustrated that Republican leaders cut off debate before she could propose an amendment that would instead initiate impeachment proceedings. She and her fellow Democrats nonetheless overwhelmingly voted in favor of the resolution to censure Cline.

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox told reporters Thursday that he supports the board's forceful censure and thinks it effectively has the same impact as impeachment. He had urged the board to take action against Cline, saying she "embarrassed the state."

Even when she apologized, Cline defended her initial suspicions, saying that a national push to normalize transgender identities makes it "normal to pause and wonder if people are what they say they are."

Cox pushed back Thursday against criticisms from LGBTQ+ rights advocates who argue he and Republican lawmakers enabled Cline's behavior by passing a transgender bathroom ban that they say gives people license to question someone's gender.

"Even if this young person was transgender, it would still have been inappropriate," Cox said. "That is not who we are or what we should be doing."

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Cline argued the board was taking away her right to represent her constituents without due process. She wrote that she did not have enough time to read all the materials and create a response before Wednesday’s meeting.

The board determined that Cline violated policies requiring members to respect student privacy and to uphold state educator standards, which include not participating in sexual or emotional harassment of students and treating students with dignity and respect.

The board's resolution said Cline allowed negative comments about the girl to remain on her social media page while comments in support of the student were deleted, which together "appeared to constitute cyberbullying as defined" in Utah law.

In a letter published Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune, the girl’s parents, Al and Rachel van der Beek, also urged Cline to resign and called for her impeachment.


"Ms. Cline did the very thing we teach our children not to do — she blasted social media without fact checking, which ultimately led to a barrage of hateful and despicable comments that were directed at our daughter that lasted for more than 16 hours," the letter said. "It was one of the most painful things we’ve had to endure."

Texas lawmaker calls for AG Ken Paxton impeachment inquiry to be reopened

A Texas state senator wants to reopen the impeachment case against state Attorney General Ken Paxton.

State Sen. Drew Springer, a Republican from Muenster, urged his colleagues in the Texas Senate to take a second look at impeachment charges against Paxton after the attorney general said he would not contest allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit. 

"He cannot admit guilt while claiming innocence," Springer wrote on X. "I urge the Lt. Gov & my Senate colleagues to consider reopening Paxton's impeachment. Paxton has not only admitted to violating the articles of impeachment, but he is exposing Texas taxpayers to a settlement of WELL OVER $3.3M. Texans deserve the truth!"

Paxton was acquitted in September of all impeachment articles filed against him for corruption and unfitness for office. He had faced accusations that he misused his political power to help real estate developer Nate Paul — allegations that stemmed from a lawsuit filed by four former employees who reported him to the FBI. 


The whistleblowers — Blake Brickman, Ryan Vassar, Mark Penley and David Maxwell — claimed that they were unjustly terminated for reporting Paxton. 

Springer voted for Paxton's acquittal on 16 impeachment charges at trial in September. However, he now says that "recent developments have made me question whether AG Paxton and his legal team misled the Senate." 


What happened? Last week, the Office of the Attorney General said in a court filing it could "obtain a verdict in this case in its favor," but instead moved to settle the lawsuit to "stop the self-aggrandizing political weaponization of our State’s courts by rogue employees who have what seems to be a monomaniacal goal to undermine the will of the voters," FOX 7 Austin reported.

"Doing so precludes further unwarranted expense to the people of the State of Texas as well as the disruption to the State’s principal law enforcement arm — the time and personnel of which are more appropriately dedicated to the business of the State of Texas and not the personal, political agenda of four rogue, former employees," the filing states.


In the filing, Paxton stated, "OAG hereby elects not to contest any issue of fact in this case, as to the claim or damages." 

Springer argues this amounts to an admission of guilt that should be reviewed by the legislature.


"While AG Paxton claims this decision is not an admission of guilt, the fact of the matter is it is an admission of guilt. He can't accept the whistleblower's claims against him while touting that he's innocent against those very claims," Springer said. 

The Office of the Attorney General did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Mexico state Republicans file impeachment articles against Dem governor over gun control

Two Republican state lawmakers in New Mexico filed a resolution Wednesday to impeach Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, accusing her of breaking her oath to the U.S. Constitution over her use of emergency public health orders to restrict the right to carry firearms in some public places.

Reps. Stefani Lord and John Block claim that with the restriction, Lujan Grisham infringed upon the rights of New Mexicans.

"The rights of New Mexicans are not up for debate, and no matter how hard Lujan Grisham tries to violate the Constitution, she will never succeed," Lord said in a statement. "I stood firm against her tyranny when she tried to use a Covid health order to take our guns, and I will continue to stand firm against her continued attempts to destroy our Republic."

Lujan Grisham, a second-term Democrat, invoked the emergency orders last year in response to a spate of gun violence, including the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball stadium. The orders restrict firearms in places like parks and playgrounds in the greater Albuquerque area.


Block accused the governor of "violating the Constitution to make a political statement," noting that Lujan Grisham said she expected legal challenges from the outset.

In the federal court system, a judge has allowed enforcement of the gun provision to continue while legal challenges run their course.


In response to the impeachment articles, Lujan Grisham spokesperson Maddy Hayden said in an email to The Associated Press that the two lawmakers are more interested in political stunts than crafting meaningful legislation, citing their bills to criminalize necrophilia and offer sex offenders an early release from prison if they agree to chemical castration procedures.

"There's not much to say in direct response to this inane effort," Hayden said, referring to the impeachment resolution.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in both chambers of the state legislature. Both the House, with a simple majority vote, and Senate, with a two-thirds vote, would have to vote to impeach the governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Texas AG Ken Paxton, wife targeted by home ‘swatting’ on New Year’s Day

FIRST ON FOX: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife are the latest elected Republicans to fall victim to "swatting" after a false report using their home's address was made to authorities.

Addressing the swatting incident in a statement to Fox News Digital, Paxton and his wife, Texas state Sen. Angela Paxton, said they were not at their McKinney home on New Year's Day when first responders arrived on the scene. The couple described the false report to police as being a "life-threatening" situation.

"On New Year’s Day, a currently unidentified caller made a false report to 911 describing a life-threatening situation at our home in McKinney," the couple said. "As a result, the City of McKinney Police and Fire Departments quickly and bravely responded to what they believed could be a dangerous environment. We were not home at the time and were made aware of the false report when a state trooper, who was contacted by McKinney police, informed us of the incident."

"Making false reports to 911 is a crime which should be vigorously prosecuted when this criminal is identified. These fake calls divert resources from actual emergencies and crimes and could endanger our first responders," the couple continued. "We are grateful for the bravery and professionalism of the men and women serving in the McKinney police and fire departments."


"It is also important to acknowledge that this 'swatting' incident happened weeks after the disgraced Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, his lieutenants, and the Dallas Morning News doxed our family by publicly posting our address," they added. "We understand some people may not agree with our strong conservative efforts to secure the border, prevent election fraud, and protect our constitutional liberties, but compromising the effectiveness and safety of law enforcement is completely unacceptable."

The McKinney Police Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment on the matter.

"Swatting" is a crime that has become prominent in recent years, gaining more steam in the social media age when people's addresses are easily accessible.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told Fox News Digital recently that swatting is a crime that could be "charged as a form of criminal threats."

"Swatting constitutes a false police report that can be criminally charged," Turley said. "Virginia recently passed a new law making swatting specifically a criminal misdemeanor. It can also be charged as a form of criminal threats."

The incident involving Paxton comes after three Republican lawmakers – Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, and Rep. Brandon Williams of New York – reported "swatting" incidents at their homes after the Christmas holiday.

"This is a crime that flourishes because there is insufficient deterrent," Turley added. "The anonymity and rare prosecutions combine to fuel this form of criminal harassment. … There is no mystery to how to address these crimes. There must be greater detection and penalties to achieve deterrence."

The crime targets an individual by calling in a false police report for a violent crime — such as a murder, a hostage situation or other crimes that would require a greater law enforcement response — to the home of the target.

The goal of the false police report is to elicit a SWAT team response by the police to the target's home. Consequently, swatting draws police resources away from real crimes while the state becomes the unwitting arm to terrorize a person at their own home.


Greene, who has been a victim of the move multiple times herself, announced last week on X that she would be "introducing legislation to make it much easier for law enforcement to arrest and prosecutors to prosecute these criminals" who engage in the false reports.

Over the course of the last year, Paxton has faced an onslaught of accusations from officials in the state, primarily Texas Democrats, who have accused the attorney general of being unfit for office.

Last May, the Texas House of Representatives voted to impeach Paxton over charges of bribery, disregard of official duties and abuse of public trust after hours of debate in an afternoon session – sending the case to the state Senate. The Texas Senate, however, acquitted Paxton of all impeachment articles filed against him for corruption and unfitness for office in September 2023.

Though there was support for impeachment on both sides of the aisle, votes to convict on each charge did not clear the required 21-vote threshold in the Senate. Republican Sens. Robert Nichols and Kelly Hancock joined all 12 Democrats to vote in favor of conviction on several charges.

"Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors," Paxton said in a statement at the time, thanking his supporters after the verdict was delivered. "The sham impeachment coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House."

"Now that this shameful process is over, my work to defend our constitutional rights will resume. Thank you to everyone who has stood with us during this time," he added.

Prior to his acquittal, Paxton faced accusations that he misused his political power to help real estate developer Nate Paul. Paxton's opponents have argued that the attorney general accepted a bribe by hiring Paul.

Paxton was also previously indicted in June for allegedly making false statements to banks.


Paxton, who was suspended from office pending the trial's outcome, was not required to attend the proceedings. Paxton's wife, who has represented the state's eight district in the Senate since 2019, was required to be present for the whole trial but was prohibited from participating in debate or voting on the outcome of her husband's trial.

Paxton, who previously served as a member of both the Texas House and Senate, was first elected to serve as the Lone Star State's attorney general in 2014. He was re-elected to the position in 2018 and 2022.

Fox News' Chris Pandolfo, Houston Keene, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vermont sheriff accused of kicking shackled suspect loses certification

A Vermont sheriff charged with assault for kicking a shackled prisoner is losing his law enforcement certification.

After hearing two days of testimony, the Vermont Criminal Justice Council on Wednesday found that Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore violated the state’s use of force policy and voted 15-1 that he permanently lose his ability to enforce the law in Vermont.


"Hopefully, law enforcement officers who might think of engaging in this kind of conduct will think not just twice, but many more times before engaging in this way," said Bill Sorrell, the chair of the Vermont Criminal Justice Council, WCAX-TV reported.

Grismore will not lose his job as sheriff but he will no longer be able to issue tickets, make arrests, and investigate crimes. He said he plans to appeal.

"Demonstrating to law enforcement officers that they will lose their career by going out of their way to try to assist and intervene with unruly and dangerous individuals is going to have an extreme chilling effect," his attorney, Robert Kaplan, said, according to mynbc5.

Grismore was elected sheriff in November of last year even though he was fired from a job as a captain in the Franklin County sheriff’s department that August after video surfaced of him kicking a shackled prisoner. He pleaded not guilty to a simple assault charge.

Just before he took office in February, state police said they were investigating the finances of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Grismore. He is also facing the results of an investigation by a special committee of the Vermont Legislature formed to investigate his possible impeachment. The committee is scheduled to meet on Monday.

Tennessee Supreme Court justice announces retirement

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Roger Page announced on Monday that he plans to retire in August 2024.

In a statement from Tennessee's court system, the 68-year-old said his time as a judge has been humbling, inspiring and the honor of a lifetime. He was first appointed to the high court by former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in 2016. His last day will be Aug. 31.

"The Tennessee judiciary is truly a family, and I have been fortunate to walk this path with my great friends in the judiciary," Page said in a statement. "I will miss all of them and treasure their friendship."


The decision will give Republican Gov. Bill Lee a chance to appoint his third justice on the five-member court. The five current justices were all appointed by Republican governors.

Page has spent more than 25 years as a judge at the trial court, intermediate appellate and Tennessee Supreme Court levels. Haslam appointed him to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 2011 before picking Page for the state Supreme Court about five years later. Page served as the chief justice from 2021 to 2023.

During his tenure, Page helped secure funding for electronic filing for the court system, advocated for access to pro bono services and promoted livestreaming of appellate arguments, according to the statement.


Page grew up on a farm in the Mifflin area of West Tennessee. Before his legal career, he worked as a chief pharmacist and assistant store manager for Walgreens.

"If I hurry, I might have time for one more career," Page said.

He praised the work done by Tennessee's judiciary system during the pandemic, including advances in technology.

"It has been incredibly gratifying to watch the start of an evolution across the judiciary," Page said. "I look forward to following those changes and to catching up with my judicial family in between trips I have been planning for years, watching my grandkids play sports, and spending time with my wonderful wife."

In Tennessee, the governor's picks for Supreme Court must also be confirmed by state lawmakers. Republicans have supermajority control in both legislative chambers. Additionally, Supreme Court justices face "yes-no" retention elections every eight years. Voters retained Page and the other four justices at the time during the 2022 election.

Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs challenge to constitutionality of state-funded school choice programs

Supporters of Wisconsin's taxpayer-funded school choice and independent charter school programs urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject a lawsuit seeking to declare the programs unconstitutional, saying such a move would create chaos for tens of thousands of families with students currently enrolled.

Private schools, parents with students who attend them, advocacy groups and the state chamber of commerce argue in court filings that the 32-year-old program has benefitted families for a generation and the effort to undo it is politically motivated, after the Supreme Court's majority shifted to liberal control earlier this year.

"A mere change in membership should not create an opportunity to challenge precedent," supporters of school choice programs, being represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, contend. "A single election is not a mandate to radically change the law."


The lawsuit was filed two months after the state Supreme Court flipped to 4-3 liberal controlled. With that change, Democrats hope the court will rule in their favor in pending cases seeking to overturn Republican-drawn legislative electoral maps and undo the state’s ban on abortion.

The school choice lawsuit comes after decades of complaints from Democrats who have argued that the program is a drain on resources that would otherwise go to public schools.

The nation's first school choice program began in Milwaukee in 1990. Then seen as an experiment to help low-income students in the state's largest city, the program has expanded statewide and its income restrictions have been loosened, and it served more than 52,000 students at a cost of $444 million in the last school year.

Democrats including Gov. Tony Evers, who previously served as state superintendent of education, have been longtime critics of the program. But Evers this summer agreed to increase spending on the programs as part of a larger education funding package that was also tied to a deal sending more money to Milwaukee and local governments.

The first question for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide is whether to take the case directly or first have it work its way through lower courts. The plaintiffs want the high court to take it directly, which would mean a ruling could come in months rather than perhaps years if it had to go through the lower courts.

The lawsuit was brought by several Wisconsin residents and is being funded by the liberal Minocqua Brewing Super PAC. Kirk Bangstad, who owns the Minocqua Brewing Co., is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. House and state Assembly. His brewery produces beer with politically themed names that tout Democrats, such as "Evers Ale," a nod to the governor.

Bangstad's super PAC has funded previous lawsuits targeting Republicans.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop three state officials from continuing the choice programs: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly and Secretary of the Department of Administration Kathy Blumenfeld.

All three of them faced a Tuesday deadline to file arguments.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s revenue limit and funding mechanism for voucher school programs and charter schools violate the Wisconsin Constitution’s declaration that public funds be spent for public purposes.

It also contends that vouchers defund public schools, do not allow for adequate public oversight and do not hold private schools to the same standards as public schools.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that Milwaukee’s voucher program was legal. But the current lawsuit alleges that as the program has expanded, the situation has dramatically changed.

At the start of last school year, enrollment in choice programs was more than 29,000 in Milwaukee, 3,900 in Racine and 17,000 elsewhere in the state, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. Another 2,200 disabled students received vouchers under a special needs scholarship program.

Ending the programs now would cause "chaos," for tens of thousands of families, argued 22 parents of voucher-enrolled students, private schools and choice advocacy groups.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative activist law firm, on Tuesday released a report claiming that if the school choice program ended, the Milwaukee school district would have to open about 17 additional buildings to accommodate the influx of students. Statewide, more than 3,700 teachers would have to be hired in public schools, the report said.