Montana Public Radio

Montana Supreme Court

School hallway.

Gov. Greg Gianforte Wednesday signed into law a significant increase to a tax credit for donors to school choice scholarship programs. The program benefits both public and private schools, but the bill eases restrictions on what private schools are required to do in order to receive funding. 

The Montana Supreme Court has denied an order asking all seven justices to recuse themselves from hearing a case regarding the state court administrator. It’s the latest development in an ongoing dispute between Republican legislative leaders and the judicial branch. 

A gavel and scale of justice.

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 Montana Supreme Court has denied a request to consider the legality of a bill that would increase the governor’s influence over judicial nominations. The policy is a back-up option advanced by Republicans in case the court strikes down a separate law giving the governor more power to fill judicial vacancies directly.

The state Supreme Court rejected the request that came from the same bipartisan group that’s asking the high court to undo the new law giving the governor power to appoint judicial vacancies directly.

Montana GOP Sends Mailer Targeting Supreme Court

May 5, 2021

The Montana GOP has sent out a mailer blasting the Montana Supreme Court and calling for an investigation into the judicial branch. The mailing is Republicans’ latest attack on the judiciary as they press forward with a special committee that Democrats are calling a violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

The Session Week 18: What Happened During Montana’s 2021 Legislative Session?

May 3, 2021

The 67th session of the Montana Legislature adjourned sine die Thursday, April 29. During lawmakers’ 80 days of work, 1,313 bills were introduced and as of mid-day Friday at least 302 had been signed into law.

The Montana Supreme Court will proceed with a full bench to consider a challenge to a new law that allows the governor to appoint judges and justices to court vacancies.

An order filed Tuesday says Judge Matthew Wald from the 22nd judicial district in southeast Montana will substitute for Chief Justice Mike McGrath, who has recused himself after he urged Gov. Greg Gianforte not to sign the legislation.

The court did not order more extensive briefing or oral argument.

As the 2021 legislative session winds down, Montana Republican lawmakers are putting the pieces in place to ensure they can continue their investigation into the judicial branch.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Fresh off Monday’s news that Montana’s gained a second U.S. House seat, Republican lawmakers Tuesday passed a proposal to give the Legislature more input on how the state is drawn into two districts. Opponents say the move is unconstitutional.

The Session Week 17: Last Minute Legislation And Maneuvers

Apr 26, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,313 bills have been introduced and at least 267 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching how the Republican majority is spending their mandate from voters as the session is winding down and last minute legislation.