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State of Montana

Judicial Selection in the States: Montana

Overview

News

Georgia has one of the most complex trial court systems in the nation, with at least 6 distinct trial courts (Superior, Probate, State, Magistrate, Municipal,...

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A hearing was held earlier this week on a series of bills filed to address diversity in the Rhode Island judiciary. Video of the hearing...

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The ongoing efforts by members of the Rhode Island House to diversify the bench continues. HB 7908 as filed would require the state s Judicial...

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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.