POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

State lawmakers overstepped with new congressional districts, Utah Supreme Court rules

Jul 11, 2024, 9:12 AM | Updated: 4:49 pm

The the entrance to the Utah Supreme Court at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City is pictured...

The the entrance to the Utah Supreme Court at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

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SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah Supreme Court ruled Thursday that lawmakers overstepped when they altered a voter-led ballot initiative that created the new congressional district map.

 In 2021, Utah lawmakers passed a new congressional district map, which divided Democrat-heavy Salt Lake County between four different congressional districts. These districts now all have large Republican majorities.

The League of Women Voters of Utah and Mormon Women for Ethical Government both sued the state. The suit claimed the new map violated Utahns’ rights to a fair and free election.

In 2018, Utah voters passed an initiative that created an independent commission to draw congressional maps. But, according to the Associated Press, just over a year later, state lawmakers took that power and responsibility back.

“When Utah voters passed Proposition 4, they said they wanted fair and independent redistricting,” Ben Phillips, legal counsel for the Campaign Legal Center told KSL NewsRadio. “The legislature overruled the will of the voters.”

The state Supreme Court heard each side’s arguments one year ago.

Attorneys for the state argued if voters don’t approve of how lawmakers draw the maps, they could simply vote in new lawmakers.

Lower courts are now able to try the lawsuit.

Adam Small is a reporter for KSL NewsRadio. He primarily reports on the Great Salt Lake and Natural Resources. Follow him on Facebook and X.

 

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State lawmakers overstepped with new congressional districts, Utah Supreme Court rules