Montana Public Radio

Mike McGrath

Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock Wednesday issued a directive aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Montana’s Correctional facilities. But it was dismissed as too little, too late by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and disability rights advocates.

The Montana Supreme Court weighed in late in the afternoon.

Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center
Josh Burnham

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court is asking city and county judges to consider releasing from jail as many offenders as they can to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote to judges asking them to review their jail rosters for inmates that could be released.

The Montana Supreme Court has selected Sheila Stearns to lead Montana Redistricting Commission.
Courtesy the University of Montana

The Montana Supreme Court Tuesday named former state Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns to lead the committee in charge of re-drawing the boundaries of Montana’s legislative districts.

Stearns was picked by the state high court after the two Democrats and two Republicans on the Montana 2020 Redistricting Commission deadlocked on who should be their fifth and final member.

Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The head of the Montana Supreme Court says drug and alcohol abuse continues to weigh down the state’s justice system.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath this week delivered the State of Judiciary address to lawmakers of the 66th legislative session.

Montana Court Overrules Attorney General On Easements

Dec 11, 2018
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.
Montana DOJ

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday overruled Attorney General Tim Fox's legal opinion that the governor can't unilaterally approve large conservation easements and they must instead be authorized by the state Land Board.

Six of the seven justices on the state's high court signed the order siding with Gov. Steve Bullock, who argued that he doesn't need the Land Board's approval because conservation easements aren't land acquisitions. Justice Laurie McKinnon is the only justice who didn't sign.

A unanimous Montana Supreme Court has rejected a tobacco industry-funded group's request to rewrite the ballot statement of a citizen's initiative to raise the state's tobacco taxes.

The opinion by Chief Justice Mike McGrath Wednesday says the statement written by the attorney general's office meets legal standards and will appear as is before voters in November.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

As the state faces a budget shortfall, lawmakers in Helena are asking departments across the state to trim their spending. But the judicial branch says its caseloads are increasing, and it needs more funds.

Between 2014 and 2015 the number of cases of child abuse and neglect in district courts rose by 700, according to testimony from court representatives.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

State lawmakers consider big budget cuts this session, including $93 million in cuts for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Montana Legislature begins preparations for the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and two familiar names are circulating for the special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s congressional seat — Gianforte and Baucus.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Montana Senate.
William Marcus

Montana’s Chief Justice canceled a speech he was supposed to give to lawmakers today. Mike McGrath says he canceled the State of the Judiciary Address after he was told by Montana’s Senate President that lawmakers didn’t have time to attend.

Sandefur Elected Montana's Next Supreme Court Justice

Nov 9, 2016
Dirk Sandefur.
Josh Burnham

District Judge Dirk Sandefur defeated University of Montana adjunct law professor Kristen Juras this morning 55 to 44 in the race for an open seat on the Montana Supreme Court.

Pages