Judicial selection in Montana

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Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in Montana
Seal of Montana.png
Montana Supreme Court
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Montana District Courts
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   6 years
Montana Justice Courts
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   4 years

Judicial selection in Montana occurs via non-partisan election of judges.

On September 17, 2012, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Montana's non-partisan election system, finding it to be unconstitutional. Political parties are now legally able to support or oppose judicial candidates in Montana. The state has not yet decided whether to appeal the court's decision.[1]

Supreme Court

Justices of the Montana Supreme Court serve eight-year terms.

If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a new judge from a list created by the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission. Once confirmed by the Montana Senate, the judge holds office until the next general election, when he will be able to run either for re-election or retention for the rest of the unexpired term.[2]

Candidates for chief justice are elected during the regular campaign cycle.

In order to serve on the court, one must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • a state resident for at least two years; and
  • licensed to practice law in the state for at least five years.[3]

District Courts

Judges of the Montana District Courts participate in non-partisan elections every six years.

Vacancies are filled in the same way as the Supreme Court.

The chief judge of the each district court is chosen on the basis of seniority. Judges rotate this position every year.[3]

In order to serve on the court, one must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • a state resident for at least two years;
  • a resident of the district represented; and
  • licensed to practice law in the state for at least five years.[3]

Workers' Compensation Court

Judges of the Montana Workers' Compensation Court are chosen by the governor though the Judicial Nomination Commission. They continue serving after reappointment.[4]

Water Court

The Montana Water Court judges are chosen by a majority vote of a committee of district court judges. The continue serving after reappointment.[4]

City Courts

City Court judges are elected to four-year terms. If a vacancy occurs, the appointed judge fills the remainder of the unexpired term. City Court judges need not be attorneys.[5]

Terms

Terms for Montana judges start on January 1 and end on December 31.[6]

See also

External links

References