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Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz given go-ahead to sue California over cancelled events

Riverside and Anaheim canceled political events for right-wing politicians in 2021

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 26 March 2024 17:08 GMT
Related video: Rep. Matt Gaetz subpoenaed in defamation lawsuit

A federal judge will allow Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene to sue a pair of California cities that cancelled their political rallies in 2021.

US District Judge Hernan Vera ruled that Mr Gaetz and Ms Greene had the legal footing to bring a lawsuit against Riverside and Anaheim after the events were cancelled "expressly predicated on viewpoint discrimination."

While Judge Vera gave the Republicans the go-ahead to sue the cities, he also tore into their claims that civil rights groups in California conspired with the cities to shut them down.

“Here, the Complaint — even charitably construed with all reasonable inferences drawn in Plaintiffs’ favor — is utterly devoid of any specifics plausibly alleging such an agreement,” Judge Vera wrote.

He called the allegations "conspiracy theory" relying "purely on conjecture".

Mr Gaetz and Ms Greene's lawsuit against the cities named nine civil rights organisations as codefendents.

The groups the lawmakers targeted were the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Unidos for La Causa, Women’s March Action, the Riverside County Democratic Party, Antiracist Riverside and Occupy Democrats, according to MSNBC.

Mr Vera said the lawmakers' decision to drag the civil rights groups into federal court should "shock" citizens, regardless of their ideology.

“The effect of Plaintiffs’ unprecedented and stunningly deficient pleading — hauling 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,” he said.

Mr Gaetz and Ms Greene accused the civil rights groups of using their supporters to rally against their speaking events, and in doing so claimed their First Amendment rights were violated.

Mr Vera reminded the legislators that free speech in the US is a two-way street.

He pointed out that the civil rights groups "exercised their own First Amendment rights to lobby for the cancellation of the event," and reminded the lawmakers that doing so is protected under the US Constitution.

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