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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Gianforte appoints new Gallatin County judge

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Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday an appointment of a judge to Gallatin County’s 18th Judicial District court. Gianforte says former attorney and Belgrade City Judge Andrew Breuner will “serve Gallatin County well by interpreting laws, not making them from the bench.”

The appointment follows a new law passed during the 2021 legislative session that eliminates the judicial nomination commission and allows the governor to appoint judges to vacancies.

The law spurred debate over the separation of powers in Montana and a lawsuit was filed claiming that it violated the state constitution.

The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law in June.

Breuner is Gianforte’s second appointed judge since taking office. He is scheduled to be sworn in in January.