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Legislature asks Utah Supreme Court to intervene in redistricting lawsuit

Posted at 9:45 AM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 15:11:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for the Utah State Legislature have asked the Utah Supreme Court to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state's redistricting maps for U.S. Congress.

A lower-court judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Utah and Mormon Women for Ethical Government, which argues that the maps for congress passed by the legislature were "gerrymandering."

In a court filing obtained by FOX 13 News on Monday, the Office of Legislative Research & General Counsel and the Utah Attorney General's outside counsel questioned 3rd District Court Judge Dianna Gibson's ruling.

"Plaintiffs want Utah courts to invalidate the Legislature’s congressional redistricting plan—and to put in place court-drawn districts if necessary—because they want congressional maps that boost Democrats’ partisan electoral success. Is such a political question even justiciable? And if so, how is a Utah court to decide what sort of partisan success is 'fair'?" wrote Tyler Green. "Now that the district court has answered the first question 'yes'—and supposed that judicially manageable standards will reveal themselves during discovery and a trial —the Legislature has no choice but to seek this Court’s interlocutory review of whether Plaintiffs’ quest for partisan 'fairness' is nonjusticiable and violates Article V’s separation-of-powers guarantee, and whether Plaintiffs fail to state a 'fairness' claim under their proffered constitutional provisions."

In its own filing, lawyers for the plaintiffs said that if the Utah Supreme Court was going to hear the case, they should also consider a count that Judge Gibson did dismiss — which sided with the state on whether the legislature can modify ballot initiatives.

In 2018, Utah voters approved Proposition 4 which created an independent redistricting commission. It drew maps for congress, the legislature and school board seats. The legislature rejected all of them.

Read the legislature's filing here: