Reichert v. StateAnnotate this Case
The Montana Legislature enacted Senate Bill 268 (SB 268), which submitted to the electorate the question whether certain statutory changes should be made regarding the election of justices to the Montana Supreme Court. SB 268 was to be submitted to the voters at a special election and was to appear on the ballot as Legislative Referendum No. 119 (LR-119). Plaintiffs, Montana citizens, taxpayers, and electors, sought a declaratory judgment that LR-119 was constitutionally defective. The district court granted summary judgment to Plaintiffs and ordered the Secretary of State to decertify LR-119 and enjoined the Secretary from presenting LR-119 on the election ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the non-retiring justices on the Court were not required to recuse themselves from participating in the decision of this appeal; (2) Plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to LR-119 was justiciable; (3) LR-119's proposed amendments to the qualifications and structure of the Supreme Court were facially unconstitutional; and (4) the constitutionally infirm provisions of LR-119 were not severable from the remainder of the referendum.