Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has joined a longstanding court fight over how Utah’s political parties choose their candidates.
For many years, Republicans in Utah have picked their politicians through a caucus system at a state convention. Party members elect delegates to attend and vote on these candidates at the convention.
In 2014, state lawmakers passed a bill that allows someone to petition their way into a primary election against a party’s chosen candidate. Supporters, including progressive groups, say the new system gives voters more of a say and places a check on more extreme wings of the Republican Party from controlling the political process.
The Utah GOP is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the law, saying it violates its First Amendment rights to choose its own standard-bearer. Two federal courts have already ruled against the case. At one time, the party racked up more than $400,000 in debt to finance the legal battle, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador joins Utah Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Rob Bishop and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in backing the Utah Republican Party cause.
In a court brief, the federal lawmakers say the law "…strips core Party activists of their ability to select nominees who are loyal to the Party platform."
"When the state manipulates the nomination process to stack the deck in favor of some types of candidates it both undermines parties’ associational rights and denies voters a genuine electoral choice," they wrote.
The Supreme Court will now choose whether or not to hear the case.
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