Judge Greenlights Gaetz, Greene Lawsuit Against California Cities Over Canceled ‘America First’ Rallies
Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz, (R-Fla.) speaks with Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) as the House meets for a third day of voting and convenes the 118th Congress, Thursday, January 5, 2023, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday greenlit legal action from GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia against two California cities over rallies canceled in each in 2021.

Gaetz and Greene sued the cities of Anaheim and Riverside last year after multiple venues repeatedly canceled reservations by the lawmakers to hold America First rallies. The Republican lawmakers allege that the city officials pressured the venues to cancel in response to leftist backlash and that the cancellations violate free speech protections.

“Plaintiffs adequately allege that the Municipal Defendants delegated to their respective agents the authority to cancel the rally (and/or ratified the relevant conduct after the fact) and that the event cancellations were expressly predicated on viewpoint discrimination,” U.S. District Judge Hernan Vera, a Biden appointee, wrote in a 22-page opinion.

Vera’s ruling is a procedural win for Gaetz and Greene, though not a total one. The lawmakers included in their complaint accusations against leftist groups, such as the NAACP, that Gaetz and Greene said illegally conspired with Anaheim and Riverside officials to stop the rallies. The judge rebuked the lawmakers for a “complete lack of any alleged facts to support a ‘meeting of the minds’ as required for a conspiracy claim.”

“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,” Vera wrote.


“The gravamen of Plaintiffs’ claims against the Nonprofit Defendants is, both legally and literally, a conspiracy theory that relies purely on conjecture,” the judge continued. “And without an unlawful conspiracy, 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. That is protected.”

In 2021, Gaetz and Greene were involved in booking three different venues across Orange and Riverside counties. Each venue canceled in succession as activists’ complaints inundated the venues in opposition to the rallies. After the last venue canceled within 24 hours of the scheduled event, Gaetz and Greene elected to hold a “peaceful protest against communism” outside Riverside City Hall.

Gaetz and Greene are represented by a legal team that includes John Eastman, a controversial lawyer who advised President Donald Trump near the end of his term. Eastman was indicted along with Trump in the Georgia election case for allegedly trying to overturn the results of the 2020 race in the state.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Judge Greenlights Gaetz, Greene Lawsuit Against California Cities Over Canceled ‘America First’ Rallies