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Utah lawmakers ask for delay in redistricting lawsuit

Redistricting protest
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 18:23:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — The Utah State Legislature is asking a judge to halt a lawsuit challenging the state's redistricting process while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case out of North Carolina.

In a new court filing, lawyers for the House Speaker, Senate President and members of the legislature asked the litigation be stayed pending that case and any decision. The North Carolina case involves redistricting where a court overturned that legislature's congressional map. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"If the United States Supreme Court holds that a state court is prohibited, under the Elections Clause... of the United States Constitution, from reviewing congressional districting maps under state constitutional provisions, this Court will be prohibited from reviewing Utah’s congressional map or granting Plaintiffs’ requested relief because it will lack subject matter jurisdiction to proceed with the claims related to the congressional map," legislative attorney John Fellows wrote in the motion.

The League of Women Voters of Utah, Mormon Women for Ethical Government and a group of people who live in the redrawn districts are suing the state, accusing the legislature of illegal gerrymandering in the congressional district maps passed last year.

In a statement to FOX 13 News, lawyers for the plaintiffs said they would resist it.

"The legislature’s attempt to delay this case is yet another unfounded legal tactic designed to prevent Utah voters from having their day in court," said attorney David Reymann. "Despite the legislature’s efforts to avoid any accountability for their actions, we believe the voters of Utah have the right to have their claims heard. We will oppose this latest delay tactic, which is based on a fringe and nonsensical legal theory, and continue fighting to vindicate the will of Utah voters in court."

In 2018, voters approved a ballot initiative creating an independent redistricting commission to draw new boundaries for congress, legislature and school board. Lawmakers opted instead to ignore the commission's maps and adopted their own legislative redistricting committee's maps.

Read the Utah State Legislature's filing here: