First Amendment

Tea Party groups sue county over banned courthouse meetings

Two Tea Party groups have sued the district attorney and other officials in Brazoria County, Texas, for banning their meetings in the courthouse annex.

The suit by the Alvin Tea Party Patriots and the Lake Jackson Tea Party says the groups were allowed to meet for more than three years in the annex until October 2012, when the county said it changed its policy. The Houston Chronicle has the story.

The DA, Jeri Yenne, had claimed the Texas Constitution does not allow private groups to use county facilities, but that’s a misinterpretation of the law, the suit alleges. The petition also says other political groups, including the Alvin Area Republican Women, have been allowed to use the facilities.

The suit says it consulted with the American Center for Law and Justice, which views the county’s treatment of the Tea Party as a content- and viewpoint-based restriction on free speech.

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