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Misconduct Report: December 2014

Mike McGrath

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Mike McGrath
McGrathPhoto new small.jpg
Current Court Information:
Montana Supreme Court
Title:   Chief justice
Salary:  $126,000
Selection:   Elected
Active:   2009-2016
Preceded by:   Karla Gray
Past post:   Attorney General of Montana
Past term:   2000-2008
Past post 2:   Lewis and Clark County attorney
Past term 2:   1982-2000
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Montana, 1970
Law School:   Gonzaga University Law School, 1975
Military service:   United States Air Force

Mike McGrath is the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Montana. He was elected in 2008 and his current term ends in 2016.[1]


McGrath earned a B.A. in business administration from the University of Montana in 1970 and his J.D. from Gonzaga University Law School in 1975.[2]



2008 election

Chief Justice Karla M. Gray retired from the court, leaving an open seat. Mike McGrath was elected to the court with 75.1% of the vote.[3]

Candidate IncumbentSeatElection %
Mike McGrath ApprovedA NoChief Justice75.1%
Ron Waterman NoChief Justice24.8%

Declines to investigate Gov. Schweitzer

In July 2008, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer gave a speech in Philadelphia to the American Association for Justice, formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, during which he said that he tampered with the 2006 U.S. Senate election in Montana to help Democrat Jon Tester win. When the text of his remarks surfaced September 3, 2008, state and national media covered the story. Schweitzer eventually said that the remarks had been meant as a joke.[4]

A conservative columnist in Montana asked McGrath, as Montana's attorney general, to investigate, but McGrath declined. In response, Erik Iverson, the chair of the Montana Republican Party, alleged that McGrath had refused to investigate "without so much as even lifting a finger in an effort to ascertain the facts." The U.S. attorney's office is reviewing Schweitzer's comments to see if a federal investigation is warranted. [5]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. McGrath received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.95, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.87 that justices received in Montana. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[6]

See also

External links


MontanaMontana Supreme CourtMontana District CourtsMontana Courts of Limited JurisdictionMontana Water CourtMontana Workers' Compensation CourtUnited States District Court for the District of MontanaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MontanaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitMontana countiesMontana judicial newsMontana judicial electionsJudicial selection in MontanaMontanaTemplate.jpg