Montana Legal Overview
The highest court in Montana is the Montana Supreme Court, comprised of one Chief Justice and six associate justices elected for eight year terms. Montana does not have a separate appellate court so all appeals from the District Courts, Water Courts and Workers' Compensation Courts have to be heard by the Supreme Court. The District Courts are the main trial courts with general jurisdiction. The 37 District Court judges are elected for six year terms. Montana also has Municipal Courts, Justice Courts and City Courts. The Justice of the Peace Courts have limited jurisdiction over misdemeanors and traffic violations.
Top metro Montana areas for Legal Issues:
1. Capital punishment is legal in Montana and the death penalty is administered via lethal injection. States' rights cases initially filed in Montana have ended up producing landmark rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, (1981), the court ruled that Montana's severance tax on coal did not violate the Supremacy or Commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution. In American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock (2012), the court threw out the Montana Supreme Court's attempt to provide cover for the state's campaign finance laws that were in opposition to Citizens United v. FEC (2010).
2. A former worker of a prison in Montana has filed a legal claim over a virus that caused her unborn child to suffer serious brain damage.
3. Additional lawsuits being filed in Montana could have an impact on campaign finance and disclosure laws.
Trending Montana Legal Topics: A voluntary Montana Bar Association was first established in January 1885. The State Bar of Montana was subsequently created by order of the Montana Supreme Court in January 1974. So it is now compulsory for all of the nearly 3,000 lawyers licensed to practice law in Montana to become and remain members. The State Bar of Montana now has more than 4,700 members and also has the responsibility of administering bar exams under the supervision of the Board of Bar Examiners appointed by the Supreme Court. The State Bar and Montana Supreme Court are both based in Helena, MT.