Montana Supreme Court Decisions

Seven justices serve on the Montana Supreme Court, which reviews appeals directly from district courts. There is no intermediate appellate court in the state. The Supreme Court also reviews appeals from the workers’ compensation and water courts. It must review any case that is appealed from any of these courts. In other words, it does not have discretion to decide whether to review a case. The Montana Supreme Court also holds original jurisdiction over writs of habeas corpus and cases that have not yet reached the district courts in which the dispute is entirely legal rather than factual. It has a constitutional mandate to oversee the operations of lower courts in the state. The Court must issue each of its decisions in writing, and any justice who dissents from the decision must issue a written dissenting opinion.

Each justice on the Supreme Court serves an eight-year term. A candidate to serve on the Court must be a U.S. citizen who has been a resident of Montana for at least two years. They also must have been admitted to practice law in Montana for at least five years. While they are serving on the Supreme Court, they must continue to reside in Montana. Candidates run in a general non-partisan election, and a justice may run for reelection when their term expires. If no opponent challenges the reelection of a justice, they will need to win a retention election to stay on the Court.

The Governor of Montana may appoint an interim justice if a vacancy arises in the middle of a term. This process starts when the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission provides the Governor with a list of three to five nominees. The Governor has 30 days to choose a nominee from this list, or otherwise the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will make the decision. The Montana Senate must confirm the appointment. The interim justice then must run in the next general election after they have been appointed to stay on the Court.

Browse Opinions From the Montana Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Montana Supreme Court
State v. Tenold
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 263
Docket Number: DA 18-0246
State v. Fetveit
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 264
Docket Number: DA 19-0018
State v. Soto
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 265
Docket Number: DA 19-0143
State v. W. Johnson
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 268N
Docket Number: DA 19-0388
State v. C. Robertson
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 267N
Docket Number: DA 19-0579
Marriage of Williams
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 266N
Docket Number: DA 20-0051
In re M.T.
Date: October 20, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 262
Docket Number: DA 20-0075
State v. A. White
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 261N
Docket Number: DA 18-0578
State v. Cole  
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 259
Docket Number: DA 19-0338

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court ordering Defendant to pay $31,903 in restitution for losses resulting from offenses committed by another, holding that the district court erred in ordering De...

Kramer v. Fergus Farm Mutual Insurance Co.  
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 258
Docket Number: DA 19-0682

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the district court granting class certification in this action alleging breach of contract and violation of Montana's Unfair Trade Practices Act (UT...

State v. Wolfe  
Date: October 13, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 260
Docket Number: DA 19-0684

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Defendant's motion to suppress testimony regarding statements he made during a phone conversation with the victim, holding that the testimony was not sub...

State v. W. Miller
Date: October 6, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 253N
Docket Number: DA 18-0432
State v. Pelletier  
Date: October 6, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 249
Docket Number: DA 19-0218

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction of sexual intercourse without consent (SIWC), a felony, holding that the district court abused its discretion in allowing the State to cross-examine Defendant regarding a...

Vote Solar v. Montana Department of Public Service Regulation  
Date: October 6, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 213A
Docket Number: DA 19-0223

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) arbitrarily and unlawfully reduced solar qualifying facility (QF) standard-offer rates by excludin...

State v. C. Russell
Date: October 6, 2020
Citation: 2020 MT 255N
Docket Number: DA 19-0334
The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.