The Office of Special Litigation (OSL) is charged with overseeing and handling matters of affirmative policy litigation for the Attorney General of Texas that may not otherwise fall within the scope of existing litigation divisions. Consequently, OSL works closely with the Office of the Solicitor General and other civil litigation divisions within the OAG on handling or coordinating trial litigation and assisting with appeals.
The Strategic Plan for the OAG recognizes that “[g]overnment should be limited in size and mission.” Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015–19, at p.3 (July 7, 2014). To this end, “[s]tate government has a responsibility to safeguard taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and abuse and providing efficient and honest government.” Id.
Some of the largest challenges of the day, to both Texans and Texas, are attributable to government overreach at all levels—federal, state, and local. But “Texans, and the courts that serve them, must remain vigilant, lest we permit boundless police power, often couched in soaring prose, to abridge our Constitution’s enduring ‘principles of liberty and free government.’” Robinson v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc., 335 S.W.3d 126, 164 (Tex. 2010) (quoting Tex. Const. art. I). As expressed in Attorney General Paxton’s strategic plan, “In most instances the decisions affecting individual Texans, are best made by those closest to their communities. This sense of personal responsibility drives individual citizens to do more for their future and the future of those they love”.
The Attorney General of Texas is the chief legal officer of the State and is entrusted with authority to represent the State of Texas and its agencies in courts of law. When the liberty interests of the State or Texans are threatened or infringed due to government overreach, it may be appropriate for the Attorney General to take action to protect and balance those principles of liberty and free and limited government. The purpose of Special Litigation is to pursue cases of unlawful governmental overreach that infringe on the liberty of Texas and Texans that does not otherwise belong within the scope of another civil litigation division.
OSL was created in 2015 by Attorney General Ken Paxton, with a new affirmative litigation mandate for the State of Texas. OSL reports directly to the Deputy First Assistant Attorney General. OSL handles or helps to coordinate some of the most impactful litigation of the State of Texas and assists the Attorney General in the performance of his duties enforcing the law but also protecting the rights of the State and of Texans.