Denial of stay clears way for redistricting lawsuit to move forward

Aug 23, 2022, 3:26 PM
Redistricting congressional boundaries are now the subject of a lawsuit...
People protesting the new congressional district map shortly after it passed through the Senate on Nov. 10, 2021. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge’s ruling denying a stay clears the way for a lawsuit challenging the redistricting process in Utah to move forward. 

The 3rd District Court judge denied a request Monday from the defendants, which include legislative leaders, to stay the lawsuit. 

Redistricting lawsuit background to date

The lawsuit, filed in March by the League of Women Voters, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, and others, challenges the redistricting map approved by lawmakers as violating parts of the Utah constitution. The suit named the Utah Legislature, Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee, and the following elected officials in their official capacities: Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton; House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville; Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton; and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, also a Republican. 

The original complaint asserted the congressional electoral map approved by legislators in 2021 amounts to gerrymandering, or drawing electoral lines to benefit specific people. It pointed out voters approved Proposition 4, a ballot initiative that established an independent redistricting commission, which was later amended by lawmakers to make the commission an advisory group.

Later, the legislature approved its own redistricting map rather than the one created by the commission. 

“In early November 2021, the Legislature released its gerrymandered map to Utah voters late on a Friday night in a manner that limited the opportunity for public input,” the lawsuit asserted. “In the end, both the Legislature’s redistricting committee leadership and the Governor conceded that partisan politics had affected the Legislature’s redistricting process.” 

The defendants filed a joint motion requesting the stay in July, asking the judge to place the lawsuit on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a similar lawsuit, Moore v. Harper. 

Moore v. Harper 

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a North Carolina case over the role of state courts in federal elections, U.S. Supreme Court, in late June. North Carolina lawmakers asked the Supreme Court to reinstate redistricting maps that the state supreme court struck down as violating their state constitution. 

At issue in the case is whether state courts should be allowed to intervene in federal elections. 

In the Utah filing, attorneys for state legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor asked for the stay to allow the Supreme Court time to hear arguments and rule on Moore v. Harper. 

“A holding by the United States Supreme Court that state courts are prohibited from engaging in this type of review would deprive the Court of subject matter jurisdiction in the present case and would be dispositive of most, if not all, of Plaintiffs’ requested relief,” they wrote in the motion. 

Judge Dianna Gibson addressed that assertion directly in denying the request for the stay. 

“It is possible that Moore ‘may’ have an impact on this case; however, that impact is unclear. There is no timeline as to when the decision will issue,” Gibson wrote. 

She also pointed out that the issues in Moore don’t fully cover the contentions raised by the plaintiffs in the Utah redistricting lawsuit. 

Oral arguments coming up 

A motion to dismiss the case entirely remains in play. Gibson plans to hear oral arguments over that motion on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. 

The defendants requested the judge also hear arguments for their motion to stay the case on the same day; with the ruling denying the stay, that won’t take place. 

Read more: 

Today’s Top Stories


utah employment...
Alejandro Lucero

Annual Golden Key Awards presented to local businesses

Golden Key Awards recognize the people and businesses who believe in Utahns with disabilities, said a press release. Nine businesses were recognized today.
22 hours ago
A group breaks ground on the Best Friends housing project in Kanab....
Britt Johnson

Best Friends Animal Society building housing for employees in Kanab

Best Friends Animal Society houses its headquarters and sanctuary in Kanab, Utah -- along with about half of its employees.
22 hours ago
cline alpine board...
Lindsay Aerts

At Alpine school board meeting, Natalie Cline claims district allows porn in classrooms

Whether Cline, from the Utah Board of Education, can speak at the Alpine district meeting (where she doesn't reside) was questioned.
22 hours ago
American Leadership Academy pictured....
Elizabeth Weiler

American Leadership Academy responds to homecoming incident

American Leadership Academy responded to allegations of body shaming and dress code at a high school homecoming dance.
22 hours ago
run marathon running salt lake...
Elizabeth Weiler

Marathon runner to set record in the name of dyslexia: 26 miles in costume

Hannah Holt, an avid marathon runner and award-winning children's book author hopes to bring attention to dyslexia by running while dressed as a book.
22 hours ago
Orem police at scene of swat standoff...
Samantha Herrera

Man in custody after hours of negotiation in Orem home

A possible Orem City SWAT situation has police officers on scene in a neighborhood around 700 E, 400 S. Police have not provided any information yet.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Denial of stay clears way for redistricting lawsuit to move forward