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A hearing on motions filed in a civil lawsuit against Llano County officials that was set for Thursday, July 7, has been postponed by agreement of both sides in the case, attorneys for the plaintiffs confirmed.

The First Amendment case, Little et al v. Llano County et al, concerns access to library books both in print and digital form in the Llano County Library System.

“A new hearing date has not been set, but based on the briefing schedule, my expectation is it will be re-scheduled for sometime in August or September,” said Ryan Botkin of Austin-based Wittliff Cutter PLLC in a Wednesday, July 6, email to DailyTrib.com. 

Wittliff Cutter is representing the plaintiffs in the suit along with BraunHagey & Borden LLP of San Francisco.

When a hearing does happen, it will be before U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. 

Motions filed include a defendants’ motion to dismiss the case altogether and a plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction that would reverse decisions by the Llano County Commissioners Court  to remove certain books from the county’s libraries and change the library system’s ebook service. 

Those actions were the result of advice from the Llano County Library Advisory Board, which was dissolved last year and reformed with new, more conservative members. In November 2021, before her December appointment as vice-chair, Bonnie Wallace sent a list of 60 books she wanted out of the library to County Judge Ron Cunningham.

Under new leadership, the Library Advisory Board closed its meetings to the public. 

Members of both the Commissioners Court and the advisory board as well as Library Director Amber Milum are named as defendants in the civil suit. 

Plaintiffs are Leila Green Little, Jeanne Puryear, Kathy Kennedy, Rebecca Jones, Richard Day, Cynthia Waring, and Diane Moster. 

The motion to dismiss the suit was filed by Llano County Attorney Dwain K. Rogers with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton listed as “intervenor-defendant.” Judge Pitman has yet to rule on whether the Attorney General’s Office can officially assist the county with its case. 

Since the filing of the motion to dismiss, commissioners set aside $150,000 in the county budget to hire attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell of Mitchell Law LLC in Austin to represent all defendants in the case. A former Texas solicitor general, Mitchell was a one-time clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He is the legal mind behind making Texas’ most recent abortion law hard to challenge in court.

suzanne@thepicayune.com