Bill to Require Partisan Judges Fails in House

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The state House has voted down a plan to make judiciary elections in Montana partisan.

The House voted 54-45 Thursday against Rep. Michael More’s House Bill 521.

The bill would have allowed candidates for district judgeships and the state Supreme Court to be affiliated with political parties. Judges would be nominated and elected like a candidate in any other race.

Judicial elections are now nonpartisan, and candidates cannot identify themselves as Republicans or Democrats

More argued in the floor debate that the measure would reveal the candidates’ biases to those who elect them.

Democratic Rep. Bryce Bennett said the measure would have eroded the state’s non-partisan judiciary and would have led people to lose confidence in the process.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.