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State of Montana

Judicial Selection in the States: Montana

Overview

News

Over the last several years bills have been introduced in the Rhode Island House to mandate more diversity in the state s courts (see here...

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The West Virginia Senate approved two big changes to the state s judiciary yesterday Judicial Budget Oversight Amendment SJR 3 as approved addresses funding for...

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Over the last several years bills have been introduced in the Rhode Island House to mandate more diversity in the state s courts (see here...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The Montana judiciary consists of a supreme court, a district court, and various courts of limited jurisdiction. Supreme court and district court judges are chosen in nonpartisan elections. When interim vacancies occur, the governor appoints a candidate from a list submitted by the judicial nomination commission. Appointees must be confirmed by the senate.

In 1909, the Montana legislature passed the Nonpartisan Judiciary Act, prohibiting partisan filings by judicial candidates and requiring their nomination by citizen petition. The law was declared unconstitutional by the Montana Supreme Court in 1911 since it failed to provide any means for nominating candidates for newly created judgeships. State v. O'Leary, 115 P. 204 (Mont. 1911). In 1935, the legislature again made judicial elections nonpartisan, prohibiting political parties from endorsing, contributing to, or making expenditures to support or oppose judicial candidates.