SALT LAKE CITY -- Ahead of a big hearing in the Utah Republican Party's lawsuit against the state of Utah over the so-called "Count My Vote" compromise, a federal judge said he would scrutinize the GOP's claims.
"You’ve made very generalized arguments about the entire bill," U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer told GOP lawyers at a status hearing Thursday morning. "I'm not going to consider an argument that the overall package of Senate Bill 54 should be restrained."
SB54 is the so-called "Count My Vote" compromise bill, that ended a signature ballot drive that would have done away with the caucus and convention system and provided an alternative path for candidates to get on the ballot. In arguments on Thursday, the Utah GOP's attorney said the bill specifically targeted their political party.
"We’ll show the court how it is the Republican party that was specifically contemplated and effected, in particular you see where the intent of the law is to, as they say, make office holders less beholden to party leaders or party insiders," Utah Republican Party attorney Marcus Mumford told the judge.
Judge Nuffer indicated that he would narrow the Utah GOP's arguments at Friday's hearing requesting a preliminary injunction to keep SB54 from going into effect.
"The process of proof will require that the GOP, in support of its motion of preliminary injunction, identify specific defects of SB54 in line item," the judge said. "Specific cases that make this a defect and identify facts in the record that support alleged defects."
Judge Nuffer said he would rule from the bench on the injunction request at Friday's hearing.