March 4, 2019
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Utah Republican Party’s request to review a law that allows a dual path to the ballot for political candidates. Candidates seeking election can either collect signatures, go through the caucus-convention system, or both.
A Short History of SB 54
SB54 Elections Amendments was passed in the 2014 Legislative Session. Over the next several years, a series of lawsuits were filed by the Utah Republican Party (URP) and others.
- In December 2014, the URP filed the first lawsuit against Governor Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Cox. In the lawsuit, the URP sought a preliminary injunction to stay the implementation of SB54. The court denied that request.
- In November 2015, the court closed the first case, rejecting nearly all of the claims in the first lawsuit and leaving SB54 largely intact.
- In January 2016, the URP filed a second lawsuit against Lieutenant Governor Cox, and the court held a hearing to discuss the claims that SB54 was unconstitutional.
- In February 2016, the Utah States District Court for the District of Utah certified two questions of state law to the Utah Supreme Court, which responded that a political party must allow its members to seek the party’s nomination through either or both methods of collecting signatures.
- In April 2016, the Utah States District Court for the District of Utah upheld the law as constitutional. In response, the URP appealed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment.
- In March 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment upholding the dual-track nomination system.
- In October 2018, the Party petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit’s decision upholding SB54. This morning, that petition was denied.
Salt Lake Tribune – Long legal battles over Utah election law end as U.S. Supreme Court refuses to accept GOP appeal
Deseret News – U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear GOP appeal of candidate nomination law
Fox 13 – U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear Utah GOP’s lawsuit over political candidates who gather signatures
Utah Policy – Supreme Court rejects appeal over SB54, meaning Utah’s law allowing candidates to gather signatures stands…for now