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Commission nominates Gustafson, McElyea, Lamb for Supreme Court justice opening

Thursday, December 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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The Judicial Nomination Commission submitted three nominees to Gov. Steve Bullock for consideration for appointment to a vacant associate justice seat on the Montana Supreme Court.

The three are Yellowstone District Court Judge Ingrid Gustafson, Montana Chief Water Judge Russ McElyea, and Helena attorney Mike Lamb.

The commission evaluated the candidates on five criteria: electability, depth and breadth of legal experience, judicial temperament.

Commission members unanimously voted in favor of nominating Judge Gustafson. Six of the seven commission members voted to nominate Lamb, while five voted in favor of Judge McElyea’s nomination.

The commission on Nov. 16 interviewed five applicants for the seat. The other two interviewed by the commission were Billings attorney Martha Sheehy and Helena attorney Jim Hunt.

The commission’s action follows the close of a 30-day public comment period. Before recommending the nominees to Gov. Bullock, commission members interviewed the applicants. The governor must fill the position within 30 days of receipt of the nominees from the commission. The position is subject to election in 2018. The successful candidate will serve until January 2023.

Commission members are District Judge John C. Brown of Bozeman; attorney members Karl Englund of Missoula and Elizabeth Halverson of Billings; and lay members Janice Bishop of Missoula; Hal Harper of Helena; Lane Larson of Billings; and Nancy Zadick of Great Falls.