Well, well, well. Just days after reporting on Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s scathing remarks about Supreme Court Justice Ingrid Gustafson and her upcoming election, where he called her a “hardcore leftist” who has done “a tremendous amount of damage to the judiciary and our criminal court system” and who has been “literally releasing criminals back on the streets” because she “truly does not believe in incarceration, she does not believe in the criminal justice system,” a challenger has emerged.
Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Mike McMahon has entered the ring and announced that he will be running against her. McMahon, who beat out then Gov. Steve Bullock’s pick in 2016 for his own seat, says that he’s running tor the state’s top judicial body because it is “the right thing to do.” Describing himself as a “strict constructionist” he said in a statement:
“That’s the kind of guidance that I think district judges need from the Supreme Court, is we have consistent application of the rules of evidence, consistent applications of the rules of procedure, criminal procedure, so we’re all playing on the same playing field.”
While we definitely don’t agree with all McMahon’s rulings, this would still be a welcome change to Gustafon’s particularly nauseous brand of judicial activism. According to Tutor:
Strict Constructionism is the judicial philosophy whereby the Constitution is interpreted in a literal or strict manner.
When practicing strict constructionism, justices will take an issue and look for the original intent of the Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Justices that are described as strict constructionists tend to favor State’s rights over the rights of the Federal Government. They tend to be labeled as conservatives.
Perhaps the most famous example of this is the interpretation of the First Amendment by Associate Justice Hugo Black. Black followed this approach that Congress shall make no law…, therefore if Congress made a law which even looked as if it infringed upon the First Amendment, it should be struck down, with no further discussion.”
We’ll take more of that over Gustafon any day.