Montana judicial elections will remain non-partisan - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Montana judicial elections will remain non-partisan

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HELENA- The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision Dec. 7 preserving Montana law that keeps judicial elections nonpartisan.

The case, French v. Jones, was spurred by a suit from judicial candidate Mark French. French complained that a state law barring judicial candidates from seeking political endorsements violated his First Amendment rights. But the court held that Montana has “compelling interests in an impartial and independent judiciary” and that allowing judges to be endorsed by political parties would threaten the “public perception of judicial independence to a greater degree than an endorsement from an interest group.”

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox applauded the decision in a statement: “I’m pleased with the Court’s unanimous decision allowing Montana to decide how we run our judicial elections. The people of Montana decided our judicial elections should be nonpartisan, and the Court’s decision respects and protects the will of the people.”

Click here to view a PDF of the decision: https://dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Opinion.pdf

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