SB 268 - Election of Supreme Court Justices by District - Montana Key Vote


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Title: Election of Supreme Court Justices by District

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that establishes Supreme Court districts and requires Supreme Court justices to be elected from these districts.


  • Requires that each of the 7 Supreme Court justices be qualified voters in the district from which they are elected, with each justice elected from a separate district of the state, whereas existing law required justices to be elected by the state at large (Sec. 1).
  • Specifies that each justice must be elected during the general election preceding the expiration of the term of office of the justice's predecessor (Sec. 1).
  • Specifies that once elected, a Supreme Court justice is not required to reside in the district from which he or she was elected during the justice's service in office (Sec. 2).
  • Requires candidates for the position of Supreme Court justice to be citizens of the United States who have resided in Montana for at least 2 years, and who have been admitted to practice law in Montana for at least 5 years prior to the date of election or appointment (Sec. 2).
  • Requires that Supreme Court justices appointed to fill a vacancy must, at the time of appointment, be qualified electors of the same initial Supreme Court district as the justice being replaced (Sec. 2).
  • Establishes the following Supreme Court districts (Sec. 3):
    • 1st district composed of Cascade, Chouteau, Fergus, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, Meagher, Pondera, Teton, and Wheatland Counties;
    • 2nd district composed of Big Horn, Blaine, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Musselshell, Park, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Valley, and Wibaux Counties;
    • 3rd district composed of Yellowstone County;
    • 4th district composed of Lewis and Clark, Deer Lodge, Granite, Jefferson, Ravalli, Powell, and Broadwater Counties;
    • 5th district composed of Flathead, Lincoln, Glacier, Sanders, and Toole Counties;
    • 6th district composed of Gallatin, Madison, Beaverhead, and Silver Bow Counties; and
    • 7th district composed of Missoula, Lake, and Mineral Counties.
  • This act will become effective upon approval by the voters in a special election to be held concurrently with the 2012 primary election (Sec. 9).

Title: Election of Supreme Court Justices by District