I'd forgotten all about Darrel Rundus till I took a peek at the agenda for tomorrow's Park and Recreation Board meeting, during which the board will go behind closed doors to discuss the 3-year-old federal lawsuit in which the preacher sued the city of Dallas and the State Fair of Texas for violating his First Amendment rights. For those needing a refresher course, we wrote all about this back in October of '06, but the short version is:
For years, Rundus -- who's apparently some kind of marketing genius? -- tried to pass out religious literature inside the fairgrounds during the Fair. But each time he was stopped by Dallas police officers and Fair officials, who said, sure, he could do his thing outside the Fair (like, on the public sidewalks), but not inside -- not unless he rented an exhibit space and stayed put. To which Rundus said: Federal lawsuit! And the thing worked its way through U.S. Magistrate Jeff Kaplan's court for three long years -- until September 16.
At that point, Kaplan had enough and ruled in the city and Fair's favor, as evidenced by the memorandum order and opinion you'll find below. (The brief judgment follows after the jump, as does the City Attorney's Office official position filed with the court last November.) As far as Kaplan's concerned, the city's got nothing to do with setting State Fair policy -- it is, after all, a private entity (since 1886!) that takes control of the fairgrounds for a few weeks each year -- and rules is rules.
Rundus Order and Opinion
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