Judge denies State’s motion to pause Utah’s gerrymander lawsuit

Aug 23, 2022, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:50 pm

Utahns rally in opposition to the proposed congressional district maps at the Capitol in Salt Lake ...

Utahns rally in opposition to the proposed congressional district maps at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. The map slices Utah’s capital, the Democratic stronghold of Salt Lake City, and dissects areas like Sugar House, Millcreek, Murray and Holladay into four congressional districts. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The lawsuit claiming that Utah’s new congressional district boundaries are being unconstitutionally gerrymandered will move forward in court.

On Monday’s court order, 3rd District Judge Dianna M. Gibson denied the Utah State Legislature and Utah Attorney General’s office lawyers’ motion-to-stay request citing the lawyer’s reasoning had no basis for this case.

On July 21, the state’s lawyers requested the pause in the Utah lawsuit because of the pending United States Supreme Court’s review of a North Carolina case involving voter ID and Black voters, claiming that decision will dispose of the plaintiffs’ claims.

However, the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, the League of Women Voters of Utah and Mormon Women for Ethical Government, argued that the North Carolina case would not resolve all issues in the Utah case as it is in a different state with its own constitution and legal claims.

The attorneys also worry that the Utah case will not be resolved before the 2024 election if the North Carolina case does not determine their lawsuit as the defendants claim.

“It is possible that [the North Carolina case] “‘may'” have an impact on this case,” Gibson’s order states, “however, that impact is unclear.”

Gibson stated there is no timeline on when the North Carolina case will resolve, and if it does, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court decision will affect this case.

“In balancing the competing interests, the mere possibility that the Supreme Court’s future decision in [the North Carolina case] may resolve some of the issues in this case does not outweigh the risk of denying the Plaintiffs the opportunity to seek timely relief,” Gibson’s order states.

Legislative Redistricting Committee releases maps to swift controversy

On March 17, the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit against the state, claiming the Legislature adopted a gerrymandered congressional map.

“In 2018, Utah voters passed Proposition 4, a bipartisan citizen initiative that, among other reforms, prohibited partisan gerrymander,” reads the lawsuit. “In 2020, the Utah Legislature repealed Prop. 4, negating its reforms, in particular, the prohibition on partisan gerrymandering.”

On November 10, 2021, the Utah Legislature passed a map from the Republican-led Legislative Redistricting Committee. Gov. Spencer Cox signed it two days later, causing an outcry from many Utahns.

Oral arguments for the defendant’s motion to stay were planned for Wednesday, along with the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The hearing for the motion to dismiss is still scheduled.

“The people of Utah will have their day in court,” Katie Wright, executive director of Better Boundaries, a nonpartisan coalition that argued for an independent redistricting commission, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are energized by today’s decision in the Third District Court denying the State Legislatures’ motion to stay and delay justice. Legal maneuvering by the legislature remained unsuccessful and the voice of Utahns will be heard in court tomorrow.”





KSL 5 TV Live


FILE - California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramen...

Tran Nguyen and Olga R. Rodriguez

California officials blast Florida’s DeSantis over transfer of migrants from Texas to Sacramento

California leaders have lashed out at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and hinted at a criminal investigation over the arrival of two flights of migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas and then were sent to Sacramento.

18 hours ago

FILE - Former Vice President Mike Pence talks with local residents during a meet and greet on May 2...

Jill Colvin

Former VP Pence files paperwork launching 2024 presidential bid in challenge to Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence is filing paperwork to launch White House bid in challenge to former boss Donald Trump.

18 hours ago

This week on Sunday Edition, Doug sits down with the Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman to discu...


Sunday Edition: Chris Stewart’s Vacant Seat, MLB Stadium, Utah’s 100 Deadliest Days

This week on Sunday Edition, Doug sits down with the Salt Lake County Clerk Lannie Chapman to discuss the process of filling Chris Stewart's congress seat after stepping down, Salt Lake's Mayor Mendenhall about the potential of a Major League Baseball stadium in the city, and Kirsten Hoschouer from the UDOT about the 100 Deadliest days.

2 days ago

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 11: Chuck Todd attends the 2021 AFI Fest - "Meet The Press" Photo ...

David Bauder

Chuck Todd leaving NBC political panel show ‘Meet the Press’

Chuck Todd says he's leaving “Meet the Press” after a tumultuous near-decade of moderating the NBC political panel show and will be replaced by Kristen Welker.

2 days ago

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu salutes before delivering his speech on the last day of the 20t...

Associated Press

China defends buzzing American warship in Taiwan Strait, accuses US of provoking Beijing

China's defense minister defended sailing a warship across the path of an American destroyer and Canadian frigate transiting the Taiwan Strait, telling a gathering of some of the world's top defense officials in Singapore on Sunday that such so-called “freedom of navigation” patrols are a provocation to China.

3 days ago

Former Vice President Mike Pence rides a motorcycle during U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride, S...

Mike Pence motorcycle

DeSantis signs Bible, Pence hops on motorcycle at ‘Roast and Ride’ rally in Iowa

Amid plates of sliced pork, statement-making leather ensembles and piles of political T-shirts, eight Republican presidential hopefuls descended on Iowa to pitch themselves to voters and, in Mike Pence's case, hop on a motorcycle.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Judge denies State’s motion to pause Utah’s gerrymander lawsuit