Independence is so important in judges that Montana can restrict what the state’s nonpartisan judicial candidates can do in their election campaigns.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that state interest last week, specifically affirming state’s judicial conduct standard that bars judicial candidates from seeking and using party endorsements.
The Circuit Court’s affirmation of an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon of Montana got only a brief news article when it was announced. But Montanans should know that the protecting the state’s nonpartisan judicial election process has great significance. This case is one of many that have challenged our election laws with the purpose of creating no-holds-barred opportunities to influence Montana elections.
Some light humor on the concept of judicial elections: