In a Monday morning ruling, the Supreme Court of Texas rejected an appeal from the Republican Party of Texas asking the court to allow state Republicans to go forward with their in-person party convention in Houston this week after it had been cancelled by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Last Thursday, the Republican Party of Texas sued Turner, the City of Houston and Houston First, Houston’s nonprofit convention arm over the cancelled convention. Later that day, a lower court denied the GOP’s request for a temporary restraining order to allow the convention to go forward, which led the party to ask the Supreme Court of Texas to weigh in on the matter.
In their unsigned opinion, the court explained that they believed Houston First’s termination of the convention event contract at Turner’s behest was lawful and outside the scope of its authority since the terms of the agreement to hold the convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center were only dictated by the contract itself, and not imposed by law through the state constitution.
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“The Party argues it has constitutional rights to hold a convention and engage in electoral activities, and that is unquestionably true. But those rights do not allow it to simply commandeer use of the [Convention] Center,” the court wrote. “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.”
The court also said they would not step in to rule that the convention could be held as planned as they were requested to do by local attorney Jared Woodfill and Houston conservative power broker Steven Hotze, who had also sued Turner and the City of Houston in connection to the convention's cancellation.