The State Commission on Judicial Conduct is asking that a lawsuit filed by McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley be transferred from Waco to Austin, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
District Court Judge Jim Meyer will hear the change of venue request on April 16 from the state agency that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct. The commission issued a public warning to Hensley for marrying heterosexual couples while refusing to marry same-sex couples.
She sued the commission in December, seeking $10,000 in damages and a declaratory judgment that the agency and its members violated her religious rights. Hensley also wants class-action status for her lawsuit that seeks to establish the right of other justices of the peace to recuse themselves from officiating same-sex weddings, the newspaper reported.
Attorneys for the commission said in a motion filed earlier in March that they request the case be moved because “all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to Judge Hensley’s claim occurred in Travis County, and not in McLennan County.”
They also note that the members of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct all live in Travis County.
The motion also said Hensley had other options besides filing the lawsuit if she disagreed with the public warning, the Tribune-Herald reported.
“The Legislature designed a simple, expedited and efficient method of judicial review by three appellate justices, available to judges such as Judge Hensley who are unsatisfied with a disciplinary order by the commission,” the motion states. “She chose, however, to disregard the legislatively designated method of judicial review.”