Sen. Mike Lee prods governor to stop defending 'unconstitutional' SB54

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  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Jan. 7, 2019 4:14 p.m.

    There are many studies from reputable sources that find our political system is becoming more polarized and the primary election system is one of the many explanations for this trend. There will always be anecdotal counter examples where a moderate candidate defeats a more extreme opponent but these one-off events run counter to the general trend.

    The number of competitive US house and senate races has been steadily declining for years, meaning the winner of the dominant parties' primary will go on to win the general election. Combine this with the trend of fewer people participating in primary elections and we have a shrinking number of people responsible for deciding our elected officials. You see this in most congressional races in Utah; whoever the republican nominee is almost always goes on to win the general election.

    I understand the need to narrow the number of candidates running in a general election but having a single person represent a party is probably not the best solution, especially for districts with a dominant party. I'd prefer using the primary election to select the top 2-3 candidates regardless of party affiliation.

  • RebelScum Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 9:12 a.m.

    So in other words: Do as I say, not as I do...

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 8:45 a.m.

    Mike Lee has gone to being the advocate of a morally bankrupt political party to the detriment to the voice and will of the people of Utah and the United States. Is it his adoration of Trump? Has the foreign power that holds sway over Trump gotten to Lee? I really would like to know.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    Jan. 6, 2019 9:18 a.m.

    Aren’t we so lucky to have a self-proclaimed “constitutitonal scholar” as our senior senator? Lee busies himself with consitutional questions as if there is nothing else to do in Washington. (Or perhaps there is a clause in the Consitution that will get get federal workers back on the job?)

  • J-D Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 8:26 a.m.

    I was not a county delegate, but the most high-profile race in my county, which is the only race I know the county convention results of, the liberal incumbent (many legislator rankings shows him as more liberal than elected Dems & I know about many of his sponsored bills) got 60%+ votes - the conservative challenger got ~30%. Some claim he has donated to Clinton's campaigns.

    The oft-repeated claim that ultra right-wing conservatives are elected because of the caucus seems to be based upon a few rare instances where the conservative challenger manages to win. It may be true this type of upset happens more often in Utah than other states (but I don't know that). If so, it's likely because there is an ability for people to run without 6 or 7 figures to get started. The barrier to entry is lower in Utah and thus it's easier to challenge an incumbent. The GOP base was furious with Congress for the TARP bailouts, but only Utah managed to replace their GOP senator who voted for it. It wasn't because the radical conservatives control everything because of the caucus, it's because we're the only state that provided such a good opportunity for challengers to run against the incumbents.

  • J-D Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 8:05 a.m.

    A few misperceptions I've read in the comments:
    - People working can't participate in the caucus (absentee ballots are used).
    - The most conservative candidate win @ caucus (in some notable instances it's been true, but it's almost always not the case).
    - A few party bosses kicked Sen. Bennett out of the Senate (thousands voted against him after he voted for the incredibly unpopular TARP bailouts & in favor of every spending & appropriations bill on appropriations cmtee - other states with unpopular incumbents weren't able to due to the difficulties of challenging an incumbent; also, most delegates are new every convention - it's not a group holding onto power over time).
    - Senator Lee is inaccessible (sign up on his website to be notified of his tele-townhalls & soon you'll be sick of getting called to participate. Sen. Lee shares his cell phone# during the campaign & holds lots of events any constituent can attend).
    - SB54 is more democratic (In many of the races - a majority of the state legislators from my county in this circumstance - where there were multiple GOP candidates on the ballot due to SB54 signature gathering, the winner won with a plurality (less than a majority).

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 7:19 a.m.

    Sen. Lee is on the wrong side of this issue. Instead of leaping to the conclusion that the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit was wrong, he needs to give us an analysis of the constitution and the case law that would -- at the very least -- tell us why he thinks he's right. That he's failed to do this speaks volumes about the weakness of his position.

  • Clip the man SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 10:50 p.m.

    I don't think the constitution mentions political parties. If an organization wants to chose somebody to run for president without the interference of the general population, perhaps they shouldn't be using the money of the general population for their personal reasons. Why is the state funding a caucus that only members of certain parties can participate in?! Why is the state funding those meetings which disallow input of working citizens such as nurses and police officers that can't all have the time off to attend them? The state should allow all registered voters to participate in all primary elections, and mail-in ballot should be an option. You shouldn't have to belong to a certain party to vote. You should qualify to vote by being a law-abiding adult citizen of Utah. Maybe if Senator Lee cared about the constitution he would like to help all citizens in Utah have their constitutional rights and not just the ones that are convenient to the powers that run the parties.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:32 p.m.

    I am a Republican and a strong supporter of the law. The Utah Republican party has been on the wrong side of this issue for years. Utah's caucus/convention system is a joke that constantly puts forth candidates out of touch with Utah voters who get steamrolled in primary elections because they are too extreme.

  • Aerospace Pioneer Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 9:30 p.m.

    I'm getting less and less impressed with Sen. Lee as time goes on. His opposition to SB54 is just the latest action he has taken that I don't like. I have never liked the caucus system with its back-room deals. I don't want my nominees restricted to those chosen in the party convention. Give me a meaningful choice or say goodbye to my support of Utah's majority party. The way Sen. Bennett was railroaded out of office was a disgrace!

  • FanOfTheSith Vernal, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 7:36 p.m.

    I can see Lee even more aggressivly outspoken now that he's got the mallet of senior Senator.

  • Wasatch Al South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 7:19 p.m.

    Senator Lee is learning from his idol Trump. He just wants the law changed to provide him a clear path to re-nomination without any opposition.

    Lee’s self-designated title of “constitutional scholar” is running a little thin.

  • readme Provo, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 7:04 p.m.

    You may be the highest qualified man or woman but if you can't afford or can't risk spending tens of thousands of dollars for signatures, you can't run for office. Ask Dr. Chia-Chi Teng how much it cost him to gather signatures to run against Jason Chaffetz. Senator Lee is right. We're a Constitutional Republic, not a Plutocracy.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 6:55 p.m.

    I can’t see how SB54 is unconstitutional. What right do parties have to even being on the ballot.

  • Blazer , 00
    Jan. 5, 2019 6:17 p.m.

    Call me crazy, but I’ll rely on the determination of constitutionality by the District Court and the 10th circuit over that of Senator Lee.

  • Flyboy1 South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 6:09 p.m.

    Self appointed "constitutional scholar", Mike Lee has noted that the entire Republican Party is out of step, except for him. Michael contra mundo. (Latin for Mike vs the world)

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:58 p.m.

    What a bunch of Lee double-speak:
    - It is legal, but is isn't constitutional?
    - Collected signatures, because Lee could
    - Lee doesn't want a real race in the next election, so it must be "unconstitutional"

    Lee speaks like an attorney for Trump.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:27 p.m.

    Mike Lee does not care about what is right for Utah or the USA. Only cares about himself and the corrupt, dying Republican Party.

  • Moon Beam Magna, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 5:24 p.m.

    It is curious that Lee would be critical of Romney's assessment of Trump then turn around and criticize Gov. Herbert for defending a law that Utah voters passed. Lee, I think being a senator has gone to your head. BTW, Trump has you on a string with the (potential) promise that you may become a Supreme Court nominee. Fat chance of that happening!

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    Jan. 5, 2019 4:54 p.m.

    I think sb54 is a good and necessary law but I have no clue if it’s constitutionally legal. So far it’s been upheld by lower level courts so as of today it’s legal.

    The primary system is fundamentally flawed and I believe these shortcomings are major reasons we have such division and animosity in our political system. The more we can open our primary system and get general election candidates who truly represent the citizenry (and not the extreme members of a political party who are inclined and able to participate in caucuses or conventions) the better.

    And these divisions are likely to get worse as more people abandon the traditional two parties, leaving only the most extreme people to participate in the primaries, which will only push more people away from the parties, resulting in elected officials who don’t truly represent their constituents.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 4:46 p.m.

    I have always been lukewarm toward Sen. Lee, but now he is losing ground. Mr. Lee must think he is so important that he can lecture Romney and tell our governor how to do his job. So far I haven't seen any more from Mike Lee than Mia Love, so maybe Mike can follow Mia into retirement?

  • BountifulUte Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 3:48 p.m.

    Senator Lee got in because of very closed Republican caucus system, thereby replacing a very popular Senator Bennett. Don't kid yourself. The Republican caucus system does not represent everyday Utah Republicans. Now that he is in, Lee wants that same system to continue to protect him. He is out of touch with Utah. This should be his final term.

  • ute_fan11 Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 3:29 p.m.

    Spot on. Glad we have at least one member of the Utah delegation who cares about the Constitution.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 3:10 p.m.


    I'm sorry... has the highest courts in Utah ruled saying the law is unconstitutional? Has the US Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional?

    This is just one more example of why people are loosing faith in the government. When a member of the senate, not even a part of the courts, unilaterally decides a law is unstitutional, perhaps we all should be able to decide for ourselves what is and what isn't constitutional. Let's skip the courts... and just proclaim it.

    And since were talking constitutional acts.... it is the govenor's job to defend laws of the state of Utah. He or she may or may not agree with them. But thats not the point. Their job is to defend the laws of the state.... state first, party second.

    So before lecturing anyone, perhaps Lee would be well advised to better understand the roles of the different branches of the government. Perhaps then he might start doing his job better. State or Nation first, part second Lee... I know you don't get it.... but that is Your job too.

  • Stephen Van Orden Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 2:55 p.m.

    I would not want to associate my name with the actions of President Trump. It is amazing how willing we are as a country to sweep all of his prior and current bad acts under the carpet. Simply holding up a mirror to the situation reveals an ugly picture.

  • rhodger Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 2:37 p.m.

    Well he got nominated over a decent republican by a brokered convention process. Face it this guy does not value democracy, just political power gotten by any means necessary.

  • bill in af American Fork, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 2:05 p.m.

    Senator Lee is showing how out of touch he is with fellow Utah Republicans. First he criticizes Senator Romney for being bold enough to let President Trump know he needs to step it up in his character if he wants to really get things done. Most Utah Republicans agree with Romney. Blind support of the President is not the job of Congress. We are a system of checks and balances and the role of Congress is to prevent any branch from overstepping their bounds. Now Lee goes after the popular Governor of our state over SB 54 calling it unconstitutional. Lee isn't the constitutional scholar he claims to be. Only the courts determine what is or is not constitutional; not his opinion. SB 54 would not be necessary if the state Republican Party actually represented the majority of their party rather than the ultra right arm. Recent primary elections have shown how out of touch the caucus system is. I know first hand by serving as a state delegate numerous times. Maybe Lee should start listening to the people of Utah rather than cozy up to Trump for the next Supreme Court opening.

  • shaking_my_head_in_wonder salt lake, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 1:58 p.m.

    Utah Republicans are an interesting bunch. SB54 was a Republican bill, sponsored by Republicans and passed by a Republican dominated state house and senate. A Republican governor signs it into law and the Republican party turns around and sues Utah. Then a Republican senator whines about the state defending it. Well played.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 1:47 p.m.

    This needs to be Lee's last term in office. Time for change.

  • Million Riverton, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 1:11 p.m.

    The problem now is that a Republican is a GENERIC term, just like a Democrat is. It is fine to allow a private party to pick their Republican candidate, but also fine for the public to pick their Republican candidates. Have a primary of those people. That way we don't limit who we can vote for to those picked by just a few delegates. In addition those delegates don't realize the extra votes given to Party leaders and insiders.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 5, 2019 12:47 p.m.

    Lee is being hypocritical- again. He had no issues gathering signatures. Just like him calling himself a "fiscal conservative" after sticking taxpayers with the bill for his mortgage.