Gaetz and Greene are given greenlight to sue California cities that canceled their rallies – Washington Examiner

A federal judge ruled Friday that Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene can proceed with their lawsuits against two California cities that canceled their political rallies in 2021 — delivering the two House Republicans a small procedural victory, even as he harshly rebuked them for seeking to punish the progressive advocacy groups that lobbied against their appearances.

In a 22-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Hernan Vera struck down a flurry of motions to dismiss the First Amendment complaint filed by Gaetz and Greene, ruling that the two Republicans had “adequately” demonstrated sufficient evidence to pursue their complaint of viewpoint discrimination against the City of Anaheim and the City of Riverside following their abrupt cancellation of two political rallies in 2021.

City officials had cited backlash and complaints from local political advocacy groups as one of the reasons they abruptly nixed the appearances planned by Gaetz and Greene, two Republican firebrands — prompting them to file a federal lawsuit last July.

But Vera blocked Gaetz and Greene from advancing a separate complaint, which accused nine political advocacy groups in California — including the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and the League of United Latin American Citizens — of conspiring with city officials to shutter the political rallies.

In rejecting the complaint, Vera cited the “complete lack of any alleged facts” that plaintiffs had produced to support their claim.

Vera, a Biden appointee, also upbraided Gaetz and Greene for the conspiracy complaint, which he said is “utterly devoid of any specifics plausibly alleging such an agreement” and is “both legally and literally a conspiracy theory that relies purely on conjecture.”

In attempting to punish the groups, Vera said, Gaetz and Greene were looking to participate in the same behavior they themselves were seeking court remedy for: blocking or punishing a political rival for speaking out or expressing their political views.


“The effect of Plaintiffs’ unprecedented and stunningly deficient pleading — having 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.

“All that is left to aver against the Nonprofit Defendants are the unremarkable allegations that they exercised their own First Amendment rights to lobby for the cancellation of the event,” he wrote. “That is protected.”