Montana Public Radio

Kurt Krueger

Montana Capitol
Eric Whitney

Montana’s governor will retain a new power to appoint judges directly to vacant benches without the input of the Judicial Nomination Commission. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law in a ruling issued Thursday.

A gavel and scale of justice.
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A lawsuit has been filed to challenge a legislative proposal to change the way Supreme Court justices would be elected in Montana.

The Session Week 16: Separation Of Powers And The Future Of Colstrip

Apr 19, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,297 bills have been introduced and at least 197 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching a mounting dispute over separation of powers between the Legislature and the Montana Supreme Court. We’re also watching debate on a bill that would incentivize the state’s largest utility to buy more of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

COVID leads to the cancellation of floor sessions at the Legislature as the Republican leaders are in a subpoena standoff with the state Supreme Court. All this as a bill to ban abortion dies in the Senate, the governor tries to prohibit "vaccine passports" and a Montanan may become the next head of the Bureau of Land Management.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

A gavel and scale of justice.
iStock

A bill passed by the state Legislature's Republican majority is now leading to debate over the separation of powers between the branches of Montana’s government.

The bill that eliminates the Judicial Nomination Commission and allows governors to directly appoint judges to certain vacancies was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte last month. Montana State News Bureau reporter Seaborn Larson updates MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar on the latest developments.

A second judge has recused himself from a case before the Montana Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of a new law that gives the governor more discretion to appoint judges.