As a matter of constitutional law, a state may provide more — and greater — protection of constitutional rights than the federal constitution. This legal doctrine will become increasingly important in the coming decades, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s membership and its dismal record protecting civil rights and the rule of law.
Indeed, Montana’s Constitution guarantees some 17 rights not protected in the federal constitution — a clean and healthful environment, human dignity, the right to participate in and examine government documents and observe its deliberations, educational rights, and the people’s use of Montana’s waters, to name just a few.
That’s why the 2020 State Supreme Court election is so important. It is that Court which interprets and enforces our cherished Montana rights and values.
Of the three individuals seeking election to Seat 5, attorney Mike Black is uniquely qualified. Mike is a native, fourth-generation Montanan, growing up in a blue-collar railroad family. He’s worked as a farmhand, janitor, and dishwasher. He put himself through college and law school.
Mike has actively practiced law here since 1991, representing Montanans in every state and federal court in Montana, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Mike served as Senior Assistant Attorney General and Civil Bureau Chief and litigated to protect Montanans’ Constitutional rights. Mike consistently fights to increase Montanans’ ability to access justice.
Importantly, to preserve Montana’s election laws from the corrupting influence of partisanship and dark money — which played a key role in the 2012 election of the present Seat 5 incumbent — Mike vigorously litigated numerous cases involving these issues. He has litigated against individuals and dark money organizations which have, and will continue to, pump significant sums into judicial elections seeking to elect justices who will support their special interests and agenda and deprive Montanans of their fundamental rights, including their rights to uncorrupted, nonpartisan elections.
Indeed, in putting “their” person on the Court, these purveyors of dark money and partisan influence constantly litigate to deny Montanans their constitutional rights of access to Montana’s waters in which to fish and recreate; to utilize public lands on which to hike and camp; and to enjoy the “quiet beauty of our state” with their families — as Mike and his family often do.
To date, Montana’s Supreme Court has jealously guarded these rights and values. Voters must ensure that that commitment remains in the justices elected to the Court. Dark money interests and those who flagrantly violate Montana’s campaign finance laws have no regard for fair, independent and impartial judges — indeed quite to the contrary.
Mike Black is eminently qualified by background, training, and experience to serve as the Court’s next Seat 5 justice. His personal and professional history is one demonstrating exemplary character and competence, earning him the state-wide respect from members of the Bench and Bar.
Mike Black has our unqualified support and endorsement, and we urge you vote for him in the upcoming primary and general elections for the Montana Supreme Court, Seat 5.
Montana Supreme Court Justices (Ret.)
Helena, MT 59601