‘Our Decision is Final.’ MT Supreme Court Denies AG Hearing Request, Kills Notorious ‘Email Case’

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The Supreme Court of Montana has unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected the Republican-run Legislatures’ petition to reconsider their ruling against their fact-finding mission, slamming that door shut and effectively killing the acrid skirmish between the two governments branches.

Several months ago, the Attorney General and the Legislature decided to do a little digging and subpoenaed email records from the Supreme Court justices and Court Administrator Beth McLaughlin, on account of suspicion that judicial misconduct and bias were going on.

These emails contained information that was highly embarrassing to the court, which the Montana Daily Gazette has written about a length here, herehere, and here. The Supreme Court and the Admin got caught with their pants down, with their hands in the cookie jar, with a flashlight sneaking out the window to go meet some fellow Democrat paramour or any other folksy way of saying that they got busted doing VERY BAD THINGS.

The justices went ballistic and struck back. They ruled the subpoena invalid and demanded that the legislature be prohibited from “disseminating, publishing, or reproducing” any further information from the emails and asked for it to be returned immediately.

As a result, Knudsen’s office filed a petition with the court asking them to reconsider and give up the goods. Irritated and not in a mood to grant favors, the court allowed the petition, but warned that they would only hear it if the legislature could prove the court erred by overlooking facts that were “material to the decision” or messed up in some other way.

Unsurprising, the court ruled that they did nothing wrong, writing in their decision.

“The Legislature has not shown that the court overlooked any material facts or issues…we conclude that the Legislature has not established grounds for rehearing. Instead, it mischaracterizes or misapprehends numerous provisions of the court’s decision and suggests rulings the court did not make.”

For all intents and purposes, due to the separation of powers, this kills the Attorney Generals’ office attempt to shed further light on the shenanigans happening at the Supreme Court. In a statement, McLaughlin’s attorney, Randy Cox was effusive over the court’s decision, noting:

“The petition for rehearing must have been written for political purposes because it came nowhere near meeting the legal requirements of the rule. That the Court disposed of the petition quickly is no surprise.”

Kyle Schmauch, Communications Director for the Senate Majority at the Montana Legislature was bullish on whether or not this was truly the end of things, saying that they would discuss lawmakers would be meeting to discuss possible “next steps” in how they wish to proceed.

In a statement, McLaughlin’s attorney, Randy Cox was effusive over the court’s decision, noting:

“The petition for rehearing must have been written for political purposes because it came nowhere near meeting the legal requirements of the rule. That the Court disposed of the petition quickly is no surprise.”

Kyle Schmauch, Communications Director for the Senate Majority at the Montana Legislature was bullish on whether or not this was truly the end of things, saying that they would discuss lawmakers would be meeting to discuss possible “next steps” in how they wish to proceed.




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