BYU professor drops lawsuit against state of Utah

Posted at 10:57 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 15:00:47-04

A would-be candidate to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz is dropping out.

Dr. Chia-Chi Teng sued the state of Utah after he wasn’t allowed to register as a candidate to get on the ballot.

Teng is in China right now for work and argued he should be able to file electronically and over video conference.

Friday a judge upheld state law saying Teng must be here in person.

Teng said on Facebook Monday he is dropping an emergency appeal to the Utah Supreme Sourt.

He says he doesn’t want to delay the special election to replace Chaffetz and he is saving tax payers money.

He said he hopes the legislature deals with the issue next year.​

Teng sent the following information to Fox 13 News:

If I appeal the decision, I’m confident the Utah Supreme Court would take up the case and rule in my favor on the grounds that the Utah Constitution declares that all of us have the right to uniform operation of laws. Article 1, Section 24 states, “All laws of a general nature shall have uniform operation.” Clearly, a special law that gives politicians more flexibility in how they can file as candidates, but that burdens regular citizens, is not a law that is uniform in operation. All that being said, after much thought, I’ve decided to not appeal the denial for the following reasons:

1. I do not want to delay the election. Had my request to be placed on the candidate list been immediately granted, I do not believe there would have been any delay in the election. However, if I were to appeal now and win, as I believe I would, the time elapsing between now and the appeal could result in a delayed election. This has never been my intention. I want the people of Utah’s 3rd Congressional District to be represented as soon as possible after Rep. Chaffetz vacates our seat.

2. I want to save taxpayers money. The state has estimated that if the special election is delayed and to the point it cannot coincide with the municipal primary and general elections, it would mean another election would have to be held at a cost of two million dollars. I’d rather forego running for office than make the taxpayers foot the bill for another election.

3. I’ve shed enough light on this unconstitutional statute that it is now on the Legislature’s radar. Without discounting the importance of judicial review, I generally prefer the people’s elected representatives fix bad laws. In fact, I’ve been informed that Rep. Craig Hall already has a bill open to address the issue.