Additionally, McMahon said the abolition of the Judicial Nomination Commission (JNC) would only improve the governor’s accountability when appointed to the bank.
“Under SB 140, the governor is not allowed to hide behind the JNC’s sign to explain whether a particular judge has been appointed,” wrote McMahon. “You will now answer people directly as to why a particular judge was appointed or another person was not selected.”
In his ruling, McMahon lists all 30 Supreme Court justices, District Court justices, and Labor Compensation Court judges appointed by the previous two governors, both Democrats, and states that those governors were “dutiful” to well qualified judges appoint just like the governors will be under SB 140. All but two of former Governor Steve Bullock’s 27 legal appointments remain in the bank after being elected to hold their positions.
“With great hope, conviction, and conviction, governors using SB 140 will similarly appoint ‘great, not just good’ ‘justices and district judges of the Montana Supreme Court,” wrote McMahon. “If not, this court assumes the Montana people will say otherwise on election day.”
Winter said in an email Thursday that plaintiffs are still weighing an appeal.
“The balance of power required by the Montana Constitution is being changed. The independence of our judiciary is at stake, ”said Winter. “Regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, every Montanan has a responsibility to protect our constitutional order when it is threatened. Therefore, we will carefully consider our options regarding the dismissal of Judge McMahon. “