The Texas Supreme Court on Monday ruled that it would not force Houston to host the Texas GOP’s in-person annual state convention, canceled last week over concerns of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
In their ruling, the panel of nine Republican judges said the Texas Supreme Court did not have the authority to force Houston First — the local government corporation that manages and operates George R. Brown Convention Center — to hold the convention.
The judges argued that their court can only enforce matters of free exercise of association and assembly when it comes to Texas law, and not specific contracts arranged between Houston First and the Texas GOP.
“The [Texas GOP] argues it has constitutional rights to hold a convention and engage in electoral activities, and that is unquestionably true,” the opinion read. “But those rights do not allow it to simply commandeer use of the Center. Houston First’s only duty to allow the Party use of the Center for its Convention is under the terms of the parties’ Agreement, not a constitution.”
Following the ruling, Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey said a separate court hearing in the Harris County District Court was taking place on Monday to force Houston First to honor its contract. He said state Republican officials would decide how to move forward after the conclusion of that litigation.
The 2020 Texas State Republican Convention was slated to be held between July 16 -18.
Photo: Government of Texas/ Wikimedia Commons