In re Republican Party of Texas, Relator
In re Republican Party of Texas, Relator (Texas Supreme Court, July 13, 2020): The court held in a 7-1 vote that the Republican Party of Texas could not force a convention center to hold the July 2020 state convention after the City of Houston and center terminated the agreement due to COVID-19. The Republican party asked the court to compel the City and the center to honor their contractual obligations. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Texas in March, however, the parties added a “force-majeure clause” to the contract, which allowed events like a pandemic to prevent “use and occupancy” of the center. The center cited “the unprecedented scope and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic” in its termination letter, which the court concurred. While the Republican party has a constitutional right to hold its convention, it cannot “commandeer” use of the center. The center’s duty to hold the conference was governed by the contract. A dissenting justice argued that Texas Election Code compels the City of Houston and center to fulfill their “duty imposed by law” to host the convention. Read the full opinion here.