Posted: Mar 20, 2012 6:16 PM by Marnee Banks (KXLH Helena)
Updated: Mar 21, 2012 8:00 AM
HELENA- A District Court Judge has decided to take a referendum which would change the way Montana Supreme Court justices are elected off the 2012 ballot. Judge Jim Reynold's decision came down late Tuesday.
The referendum, LR-119, was scheduled for a vote during the June primary and the ballot issue states Supreme Court Justices would be elected by districts and not the state at large. It also would require the Justice to live in the District he or she represents.
"From the early days of statehood the Montana Supreme Court has held that the legislature may not add to or subtract from constitutional qualifications to hold a particular office," Reynolds wrote in his ruling.
Reynolds says LR-119 does just that and is therefore unconstitutional. The state has not yet decided if it will appeal the ruling.