The 2021 legislative session saw many bills introduced that were a direct attack on the impartial and fair judicial system we have in Montana. More than a dozen bills made it in front of legislative committees and four were signed into law by Governor Gianforte, while a 5th is going to show up in 2022 as a ballot measure. As of now, two out of five already have pending litigation because of unconstitutionality.
Legislation wasn’t the only way that politicians worked to undermine the authority of Montana’s court system. During the session, elected officials spent their time issuing subpoenas for court staff and confidential paperwork, instead of addressing Montana’s economic and healthcare needs.
Since the session, politicians have been spreading misinformation about who has power and influence over the courts. To be clear, their campaign is a direct attack to undermine the balance of powers in our democracy.
Within Montana, we depend on a fair and impartial court system to uphold Montana’s constitution, to create courts where cases and people can be heard without bias, prejudice, or political influence. When our courts don’t work, people can’t rely on the judicial system for justice of any kind.
The 2021 legislative session may be over but attacks on Montana’s judicial system continue. It is up to all of us to protect the integrity and impartiality of Montana courts.