Breaking News

Federal Appeals Court Puts Brakes on In-Person GOP Convention Once Again

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted Saturday morning that a federal appeals court ruled that the Republican Party of Texas cannot go forward with an in-person convention.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted Saturday morning that a federal appeals court ruled that the Republican Party of Texas cannot go forward with an in-person convention. Screenshot
Once again, the courts have intervened to prevent the Republican Party of Texas from having an in-person convention in Houston during an ongoing pandemic thanks to an appeal filed by the City of Houston and Houston First, the city’s convention arm.

In a tweet sent out in the wee hours of Saturday morning, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the federal ruling issued by Judge Lynn Hughes on Friday that would have allowed the state GOP to have their in-person convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center after all if they so desired.

“In the middle of a pandemic, the doors remain locked,” Turner wrote.

On Friday afternoon, Hughes ruled that Turner’s cancellation of the in-person GOP convention violated the constitutional rights of the state Republican party, and ordered that the GRB Convention Center be made available either this weekend or next for the event.

In a statement issued Friday night, Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey said the state GOP still planned to attempt to finish their convention virtually starting Saturday morning, but would consider a rescheduled in-person convention at GRB as a backup if Saturday’s online convention was plagued by too many problems. On Thursday, the first day of the Texas GOP’s virtual convention suffered numerous technical difficulties, which led the party’s Executive Committee to vote to delay the resumption of the convention until Saturday.

The City of Houston told the Houston Press that there were no additional details to share about the Fifth Circuit’s ruling as of Saturday morning. The Republican Party of Texas did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

We will update this story as more details become available.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Schaefer Edwards is a staff writer at the Houston Press who covers local and regional news. A lifelong Texan and adopted Houstonian, he loves NBA basketball and devouring Tex-Mex while his cat watches in envy.
Contact: Schaefer Edwards