In Two Towns In California, Gop Rallies Were Called Off. A Judge Just Said It Was Okay To File A Case About It


A federal court said that Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia can go ahead with their lawsuit against two cities in California that cancelled their 2021 political rallies.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Hernan Vera said in a 22-page ruling that the two lawmakers had a valid case to say that the cancellation of their rallies in Riverside and Anaheim was “expressly predicated on viewpoint discrimination.” But the judge said it was not true that the cities worked together with civil rights groups to stop the events. He described it as a “conspiracy theory that relies purely on conjecture.”

“The Complaint — even charitably construed with all reasonable inferences drawn in Plaintiffs’ favor — is utterly devoid of any specifics plausibly alleging such an agreement,” he wrote. “Since there is no evidence of an illegal conspiracy, the only thing that can be said about the nonprofit defendants is that they used their First Amendment rights to try to get the event canceled.” “That is kept safe.”

They sued in federal court last year, saying that the venues gave in to pressure from the cities of Anaheim and Riverside and canceled contracts for their America First rally because they didn’t agree with Greene and Gaetz politically. The two lawmakers are known for their strong support of former President Trump.

Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim, said that the city is still sure of its stance.

“While we disagree with the decision, it isn’t unusual to see a claim move forward at this early stage, regardless of the court’s initial thoughts on the strengths of the case,” said Lyster.

A few advocacy or political groups were also named in the lawsuit as working with the cities to get the venues to cancel the protest. In his ruling, Vera threw out that claim.

“The effect of Plaintiffs’ unprecedented and stunningly deficient pleading — haling nine civil rights groups into federal court for speaking out against an event — should shock in equal measure civic members from across the political spectrum,” Vera said.

In July 2021, Greene and Gaetz tried to hold their gathering in three places: two in Orange County, one in Riverside; however, the host venues kept backing out.

The first place they tried to hold the gathering was the Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center in Laguna Hills. However, the venue had to cancel because they got so many calls and emails about it.

The group’s meeting was changed to the Riverside Convention Center. Court records show that Raincross Hospitality Management, which runs the convention center, said it had to stop the event because there was a mistake on the certificate of insurance it had been given.

With less than 24 hours to go, the group moved the gathering to Anaheim’s Grand Theater, a private venue. However, the protests that followed were still bad.

A lawsuit says that an Anaheim code enforcement officer called the theater the morning of the rally and warned the owners that their conditional use permit would be at risk if they let the protest happen. The gathering was called off by the Grand Theater.

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