State Bar statement on threats to judiciary
The State Bar of Montana is profoundly concerned by events in Great Falls described in Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge John W. Parker’s recent statement to the Cascade County Bar about recent threats to the judiciary there.
Our American justice system and the rule of law require that our courts be open to all, even those who express sometimes controversial views. However, paramount to the rule of law and the peaceable resolution of disputes fundamental to our republic is the safety of our courts, part of an impartial and independent branch of government.
Matters before our courts often inflame passions. Too often we have witnessed the tragic results from a breakdown in security and protection for judges, attorneys and litigants in other parts of the country.
That is not the Montana way.
Therefore, in the fall of 2020, the State Bar created a working group to explore these critical issues. We praise attorneys who, as officers of the court, urge their clients to refrain from threats against members of the Montana bench and bar. We equally commend those law enforcement officers who every day faithfully provide courthouse protection in communities across our state. And we encourage continued vigilance.
As John Adams wrote about the three independent and coequal branches of government: “The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice…” To that we would add only: Safe.
Executive Committee, State Bar of Montana