State senator fights subpoena to testify in GOP lawsuit over ‘Count My Vote’ law

Posted at 8:38 AM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-16 16:20:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Curt Bramble is fighting efforts to have him testify in the Utah Republican Party’s ongoing lawsuit over his “Count My Vote” compromise law passed last year.

The Provo Republican has asked a federal court to quash the subpoena served on him by the Utah GOP.

“Plaintiff’s efforts are misguided. First, under federal common law and under the Utah Constitution, legislative privilege is an absolute bar to compelling a legislator to testify or produce documents relating to legitimate legislative acts or acts performed in the sphere of legislative activity, including preparing and negotiating proposed legislation,” Christine Gilbert of the Utah State Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel wrote.

“Second, Senator Bramble’s testimony and documents are not relevant to the constitutionality of SB54. In determining a law’s constitutionality, the court looks to the law’s plain language, never to the intent or motivations of a single legislator.”

Read the motion by Sen. Bramble’s attorneys here:

On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead did rule in Bramble’s favor after no one filed an objection. Late Wednesday, the Utah Republican Party asked the judge to reconsider.

“Plaintiff’s counsel confesses that he misread and miscalendared the court’s order on Monday, (Dkt 105), as if it required the state to respond by April 14 on Plaintiff’s motion to compel, which is also pending before the magistrate judge,” Utah GOP attorney Marcus Mumford wrote, adding that an office manager involved in scheduling was out of town at a family funeral.

Read the Utah GOP’s filing here:

Bramble’s state attorneys opposed the request to reopen the

The Utah Republican Party wanted Bramble to testify on Friday during its request for a preliminary injunction to halt SB54 from going into effect. However, he was out of town and fighting the subpoena. A federal judge rejected the Utah GOP’s injunction request and refused to block the “Count My Vote” compromise law from going into effect. The lawsuit itself goes forward.

SB54 was crafted as a legislative compromise over the “Count My Vote” petition drive that would have sought to do away with the caucus/convention system the Utah GOP prefers. The bill provides an alternative path for candidates to get on the ballot if they gather enough signatures. The Republican Party is suing the state, arguing that it cannot implement SB54 in time — and that the law violates its First Amendment right to freedom of association.

The Utah GOP has threatened that if it were forced to implement SB54, it would “destroy” the party and the party may be left off the ballot in 2016.