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: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Police arrested a man in Washington County on suspicion of human trafficking a child on Thursday. ...

UHP arrests man suspected of trafficking New England teen

Court documents show that the UHP pulled over Tevon Jarrell Cullors-Tillman after his car was spotted driving erratically.
11 hours ago
Follow @SimoneSeikaly...
Simone Seikaly

Elk herd again on the move near Foothill Drive and Parley’s Canyon

Drivers near Foothill Drive and Parley's Canyon were warned to remain vigilant as officials worked to move the herd.
11 hours ago
Mountain America Credit Union will pick 
 up the tab for the adoption of all larger dogs this weeke...
Mark Jackson

Credit union will pay for larger dog adoptions this weekend

Mountain America Credit Union will pick up the fees for larger dog adoptions from Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5.
11 hours ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Mark Jones

Bill would require buildings to post signs for events meant for adults

One Utah lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require signs be posted on public buildings that will be hosting events meant for adults.
1 day ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police are investigating a fatal stabbing at the Palmer Court Apartments on Thursday...
Mark Jones

One person dead following a stabbing in Salt Lake City suspect still at large

One person died following a stabbing in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police. Police are still searching for a suspect.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Denial of stay clears way for redistricting lawsuit to move forward