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Utah Supreme Court grants legislature's appeal in redistricting case

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-07 19:13:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit over the state's congressional redistricting process.

In an order issued Friday and obtained by FOX 13 News, Associate Chief Justice John Pearce granted the Utah State Legislature's request for an interlocutory appeal. That moves the litigation before the state's top court for now. Interlocutory appeals are rarely granted.

Lawyers for the legislature were appealing decisions by a lower-court judge who has so far rejected their requests to dismiss the lawsuit. A group of plaintiffs including the League of Women Voters of Utah and Mormon Women for Ethical Government have sued, alleging the congressional district map passed by the legislature was "illegal gerrymandering."

The map splits Salt Lake County — Utah's most populous county — into four separate congressional districts with rural and typically more conservative parts of the state.

In the same orders, the Utah Supreme Court justices also agreed to hear a claim that the lower-court dismissed surrounding voter-approved Proposition 4, which created an independent redistricting commission.

"While we are disappointed that the Utah Supreme Court has granted the legislature's petition to review the motion to dismiss, it was not unexpected. The court has also granted our petition to appeal the dismissal of the Prop. 4 claim, and so they will be looking at all claims now," said Katharine Biele, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Utah. "We look forward to continuing to make our case for the voters of Utah."

Republican legislative leaders on Utah's Capitol Hill were pleased with the decision.

"We are pleased the Utah Supreme Court granted permission for an interlocutory appeal on the redistricting case," Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said in a joint statement to FOX 13 News on Saturday. "We look forward to presenting our arguments to the court."