Court Permits Representatives Gaetz and Greene to Pursue Legal Action Against Two California Cities Over Alleged Interference with ‘America First’ Rallies

A federal judge on Friday approved legal proceedings initiated by Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) against two California cities that canceled their rallies in 2021.

In the previous year, Gaetz and Greene filed lawsuits against the cities of Anaheim and Riverside. The lawsuits stemmed from the cancellation of three separate venues where the lawmakers had planned to hold ‘America First’ rallies. Allegedly, the cancellations occurred following complaints from individuals on the left.

Following the cancellation by the final venue less than 24 hours before the planned event, Gaetz and Greene opted to conduct a “peaceful protest against communism” outside Riverside City Hall.

Both Republican representatives claim that city officials exerted pressure on the venues to cancel due to opposition from individuals on the left and argue that these cancellations infringe upon free speech rights.

“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.

The court’s decision is a victory for Gaetz and Greene, albeit not a complete one. Their complaint included allegations that leftist organizations, including the NAACP, unlawfully colluded with officials from Anaheim and Riverside to halt the rallies. However, the judge criticized the lawmakers for a “complete absence of any factual evidence supporting a ‘meeting of the minds’ necessary for a conspiracy accusation.”

“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.”