The Montana Judiciary system needs some deep changes and the best way to begin is by signing the petition at the end of the article.
RESTRUCTURE THE MONTANA JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION (JSC)
Fact: The Judicial Standards Commission oversees grievances against judges!
Fact: The JSC is comprised of only five people, chaired/run by two district judges!
Fact: Our state’s judiciary self-disciplines. They oversee themselves!
Fact: The JSC dismisses over 98% of grievances by Montana Citizens! *
Fact: The JSC is a child of the Legislature (We The People), not the judiciary!
Fact: There is a complete lack of accountability within our judiciary!
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
Article VII, Part VII, Section 11: The legislature shall create a judicial standards commission consisting of 5 persons and provide for the appointment thereto of two district judges, one attorney, and two citizens who are neither judges nor attorneys.
THE MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED (Our Statutes/laws)
Title 3, Chapter 1, Part 11, section 1101(1,2,&3): There is created a judicial standards commission consisting of 5 members as follows: (1) two district court judges,,,, elected by district judges….certified by the chief justice….and confirmed by the senate. (2) One attorney….appointed by the supreme court…..and confirmed by the senate. (3) Two citizens…appointed by the governor….and confirmed by the senate.
Article III, Part III, Section 1: Separation of powers. The powers of the government of this state are divided into three distinct branches-legislative, executive, and judicial. No person or person’s charged with the exercise of power properly belonging to one branch shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except as in this Constitution expressly directed or permitted.
Nowhere in our Constitution does it allow our legislature the authority to give the JSC appointment process to our judiciary. 3 of the five members (60%) of the commission are currently elected and appointed by members of our judiciary by way of Title 3 above. Article V, above, mandates that our LEGISLATURE “provide for the appointments”. Therefore, our LEGISLATURE can, and must, remove any and all appointment processes to the JSC from the judiciary. We propose an amendment to our statute because of this conflict.
Furthermore, we propose an amendment to the Montana Constitution to provide for ten citizens, one retired judge, and one attorney to be members of the JSC, rather than only five members.
You can read the details and sign the petition here.