SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah


In the current era of Utah constitutional case law, the legal community will have to be creative—and even deviceful—to piece together compelling briefs to argue cases under the Utah Constitution. In contrast to the early days of New Judicial Federalism where the court introduced new interpretations into the Utah constitutional dialogue from nothing more than a party’s citation to sister state law, sophisticated briefing is now necessary to succeed on a Utah Constitutional claim. Even where there is little case law or unfavorable prior precedents, practitioners may still find success by raising arguments grounded in the text of the Utah Constitution and supported by those sources the court has identified as useful for interpreting its text. The strongest textual arguments will be those supported by historical evidence of the intent of the 1895 Utah voters and drafters of the Utah Constitution, analysis of the constitutional traditions of sister states, and the history of the society that adopted the Utah Constitution.