Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Legal Work

The national ACLU appears before the United States Supreme Court more than any other organization except the U.S. Department of Justice. About 200 ACLU staff attorneys collaborate with about 2,000 volunteer attorneys to handle thousands of cases annually.

Click here to find out more about the ACLU's legal cases across the country >>

The ACLU of Utah litigates and provides amicus assistance in a variety of cases each year and resolves many more issues outside of the courtroom. Due to the extreme dedication and generosity of our volunteer cooperating attorneys, the attentiveness of our staff, and the support of our members and contributors, we have an active legal presence in Utah.


Resolved Cases

You may find all of the resolved cases in specific issue fields by visiting our Utah Issues pages

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Legal Advocacy

The ACLU of Utah seeks to address civil liberties problems without having to rely on litigation. Below are letters we have written on a variety of issues in which we attempted to resolve reported grievances outside of the courtroom.

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Voter Access in San Juan County: Why It Matters So Much

04 May 2016 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
In rural areas of Utah, serious voter disenfranchisement is happening - decades after the original Voting Rights Act meant to end such discrimination.

ACLU Comment on Myriad Genetics Settling Patent Lawsuits

28 January 2015 Published in Legal Work
Myriad Genetics, a Utah based company, which held patent claims on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that have been invalidated at the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit, has recently announced that has settled several lawsuits against other companies that provided testing for those genes.

ACLU of Utah 2013 - 2014 Annual Report

10 December 2014 Published in Annual Reports
It has been an incredible year and we are pleased to present our Annual Report detailing a year of civil liberties victories at the legislature and in the courts.

Honoring Our Volunteer Attorneys

29 October 2014 Published in Legal Work
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2014 Fall Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah has limited staff and funding, yet is faced with a huge number of requests for legal assistance from individuals and organizations. In almost all of our cases, we co-counsel and team up with volunteer attorneys. Since 1958,  volunteer lawyers have provided invaluable support to the ACLU of Utah legal program. These volunteers include sole practitioners, recent law school graduates, as well as some of the state and nation’s most prominent lawyers and firms. In addition to litigation, attorneys help in several other important ways. For example, we sometimes need help analyzing proposed legislation that affects civil liberties. In addition, we sometimes provide comments on policies or address complaints to administrative agencies. Volunteer attorneys also assist in reviewing complaints and requests for assistance from the public.  We could not have accomplished many of the significant victories we have achieved this year without the dedicated assistance of the following attorneys. We are grateful for their time and energy. We are always on the lookout for more cooperating attorneys. If you are interested in becoming involved, please visit our website at Michael S. Anderson, Parr,…

Utah Judge Orders Recognition of Valid Marriages of Same-Sex Couples

19 May 2014 Published in Newsroom
A federal judge ordered the state today to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples legally married in Utah in December 2013 & January 2014.

Court Schedules Hearing in ACLU of Utah Suit for State to Honor Marriage

06 March 2014 Published in Legal Work
On February 4, 2014, the ACLU of Utah filed a motion with the federal court seeking an order that the State must immediately recognize marriages of all same-sex couples married in Utah.

ACLU Argues That Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Demands Heightened Court Scrutiny

05 March 2014 Published in Legal Work
On March 4, 2014, the ACLU of Utah, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and the ACLU LGBT Project filed an amicus brief in Kitchen v. Herbert on behalf of themselves and 19 other civil rights organizations.

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

16 June 2013 Published in Legal Work
National ACLU Challenges Patents on Breast Cancer Genes On May 12, 2009, the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and should be invalidated. The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the BRCA genes. The plaintiffs include organizations representing over 150,000 researchers and pathologists, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and individual women.

Free Speech and Commerce Clause

09 June 2005 Published in Legal Work
Florence v. Shurtleff - During their 2005 general session, Utah legislators passed H.B. 260, “Amendments Related to Pornographic and Harmful Materials.” Meant to restrict children’s access to harmful material on the Internet, the law instead unconstitutionally limits the free speech rights of Internet content providers, may negatively impact Internet users who have no wish to restrict the sites to which they have access, acts as a prior restraint on Internet service providers’ speech, and violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Under the new law, the Attorney General’s Office must create an “adult content registry” containing the URLs of all Internet sites worldwide that are not “access restricted” and that contain “material harmful to minors”—speech that is unlawful to intentionally distribute to children yet is lawful for adults to access. Once contacted by the Attorney General’s Office, Utah-based content providers will either have to restrict access to their sites through an as-yet-to-be-defined rating system or remove the offending content to avoid being charged with a third-degree felony crime. Additionally, the bill requires Internet service providers, at customer request, to block access to sites listed on the adult content registry as well as to those sites they can identify as…


03 November 2000 Published in Legal Work
First Unitarian Church v. Salt Lake City Corporation STEPHEN C. CLARK (4551)American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation, Inc. 355 North 300 West, Suite 1 Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 (801) 521-9862 MARK LOPEZ American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc. 125 Broad Street New York, New York 10004 Attorneys for Plaintiffs IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT Civil No. 2:99CV-0921ST Judge Ted StewartMagistrate Judge Samuel Alba FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF SALT LAKE CITY; UTAHNS FOR FAIRNESS; UTAH NATIONAL RGANIZATION FOR WOMEN; and CRAIG S. AXFORD, Plaintiffs, vs. SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION, a municipal corporation, Defendant, CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, Intervenor. Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and DUCivR 56-1, plaintiffs respectfully submit this Memorandum in support of their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Main Street and Other Poems By Joyce Kilmer Main Street (For S. M. L.) I like to look at the blossomy track of the moon upon the sea, But it isn”t half so fine a sight as Main Street used to be When it all…

Main Street Easement

11 April 1999 Published in Legal Work
AFTER RECORDATION RETURN TO: Kirton & McConkie c/o Marc N. Mascaro 60 East South Temple, #1 800Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION, a municipal corporation of the State of Utah ("GRANTOR"), hereby specially conveys and warrants against all acts of Grantor, including without limitation any conveyance, alienation, mortgage or other transfer or encumbrance, and not otherwise, pursuant to Petition No. 400-98-79 and Salt Lake City Ordinance No. 28 of 19999 to the CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS a Utah corporation, whose mailing address is 50 East North Temple, Suite 1800, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111, ("GRANTEE") for the sum of TEN DOLLARS ($10.00) and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, all of Grantor’s interest in the following described real property located in Salt Lake County, State of Utah: SEE EXHIBIT "A" ATTACHED HERETO Said conveyance is subject to the following reservation of easements: 1. Purpose of Easements. The easements reserved herein are intended and shall be used for the following purposes only: 1.1. Emergency and Public Safety. Grantor hereby reserves an easement over and across the surface…