The Utah Supreme Court unanimously overturned a district court decision that said a 2016 law passed by the Utah Legislature calling for partisan State School Board elections was unconstitutional. | Stock image

The Utah Supreme Court unanimously overturned a district court decision that said a 2016 law passed by the Utah Legislature calling for partisan State School Board elections was unconstitutional.

SALT LAKE CITY — A unanimous Utah Supreme Court has ruled that partisan State School Board elections are constitutional.

The court overturned a 2017 decision by 3rd District Court Judge Andrew Stone, who ruled that SB78, passed by state lawmakers in 2016 and established partisan State School Board elections beginning in 2018, violated the Utah Constitution.

The high court’s ruling reinstates SB78, which means people who want to run for the Utah State Board of Education can file as partisan candidates beginning in 2020.

Richards v Cox (PDF)

Richards v Cox (Text)

Over the years, the method by which Utah elects State School Board members has been frequently contested. In 2014, a process that allowed the governor to select candidates for the State School Board ballot was declared unconstitutional.

The Utah Legislature then passed SB78 in 2016, which allowed a non-partisan ballot for that year’s election cycle but called for partisan elections starting in 2018. Current and former members of the State School Board, the Utah PTA, Utahns for Public Schools and the ABU Education Fund challenged the law in district court. The lawsuit named Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as the sole defendant. The law was on hold while the case was litigated

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes nearly a year after it heard oral arguments in the state’s appeal of Stone’s ruling.

The court rejected the policy arguments against SB78 “as outside our judicial role. We reverse …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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