Reps. Gaetz and Greene lawsuit against cities where political rally was canceled may move forward

Left; Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Right; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on March 9, 2024, in Rome, Ga. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard; Mike Stewart/Associated Press)
(Nathan Howard; Mike Stewart/Associated Press)

Reps. Gaetz and Greene lawsuit against cities where political rally was canceled may move forward

Quick break

Hanna Frits

March 25, 2024

A federal judge


ruled that Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz

of Florida

and Marjorie Taylor Greene

of Georgia

can move forward with their lawsuit against two California cities that canceled their 2021 political rallies.

In a 22-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Hernan Vera ruled Friday that the two lawmakers had grounds to allege that the cancellation of their rallies in Riverside and Anaheim was “expressly foreshadowed on the grounds of facial discrimination.” However, the judge rejected the claim that the cities conspired with civil rights groups to stop the events, calling it a “conspiracy theory based purely on conjecture.”

“The complaint, even constructed in a charitable manner, drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff’s favor, is entirely devoid of any particulars that plausibly allege such an agreement,” the judge wrote. “And absent an unlawful conspiracy, the low-key allegations that they exercised their own First Amendment rights to lobby for the cancellation of the event are all that remains against the nonprofit defendants. That is protected.”

The two lawmakers known for their fervent support of former President Trump filed a lawsuit in federal court last year, claiming the venues buckled under pressure from the cities of Anaheim and Riverside and contracts for their America First rally had resigned because they disagreed with Greene and Gaetz’s politics.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene makes a motion to impeach Speaker Mike Johnson

The lawsuit also accused a handful of advocacy or political organizations

for from

conspiring with the cities to push the venues to cancel the rally. Vera rejected that claim in his decision.

“The impact of plaintiffs’ unprecedented and stunningly flawed pleadings to drag nine civil rights groups into federal court for speaking out against an event should equally shock citizens across the political spectrum,” Vera wrote.

Greene, a congressman from Georgia, and Gaetz, who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, tried to organize their July 2021 rally at two locations in Orange County and one in Riverside, but the venue operators continued to push back.

They first tried to host the gathering at the Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center in Laguna Hills, but the venue decided to cancel after receiving a flood of calls and emails about the event.

Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene attend Anaheim and Riverside in a canceled meeting

The meeting was moved to the Riverside Convention Center. But Raincross Hospitality Management, which operates the convention center, said it decided to cancel the event because of a discrepancy on the certificate of insurance it provided, court records show.

With less than 24 hours until the meeting, the group moved it to the Grand Theater, a private venue in Anaheim, but outrage over the event followed.

According to the lawsuit, an Anaheim code enforcement officer allegedly called the theater the morning of the meeting and told operators that the venue’s conditional use permit would be at risk if they allowed it to proceed. The Grand Theater canceled the meeting.

With time running out and no room, lawmakers held an “against communism” protest outside Riverside City Hall.

Greene and Gaetz took to social media Monday to celebrate the judge’s decision to allow the case to proceed. Gaetz wrote on X

formerly Twitter,

that “spreading the America First message is our duty and our special privilege.”

“We will win these important lawsuits against the California cities of Riverside and Anaheim and the insane left!” Greene wrote on


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