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News & Press: State Bar News

Commission seeks comment on applicant for Water Court judge

Thursday, May 7, 2020  
Posted by: Joe Menden
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The Honorable Stephen R. Brown has reapplied for the position of associate water judge for the Montana Water Court. His was the only application received by the Judicial Nomination Commission, which is now soliciting public comment on his application.

Judge Brown's application may be viewed through a link available at the commission's website. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Monday, June 8.

The Montana Water Court, located in Bozeman, was created by the 1979 Montana Legislature. The court has exclusive jurisdiction over the adjudication of all water rights claims in Montana. The associate water judge is appointed by the chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court. This judgeship is not subject to general election. Public comment regarding the applicant is an extremely important part of the appointment process, especially given that Montanans do not have an opportunity to vote on the associate judge position.

The commission welcomes public comment, either in writing (email or paper) or via telephone. The commission finds it helpful if people submitting comment provide information indicating how they know the applicant and describing their experience with the applicant. These comments become part of the applicant’s file and will be posted on the commission’s web page and forwarded to Chief Justice Mike McGrath. Public comment may be submitted to:

Judicial Nomination Commission, c/o Lois Menzies, Office of Court Administrator, P.O. Box 203005, Helena, MT 59620-3005; by email to; or by calling 406-841-2972.

After reviewing the application and public comment and interviewing the applicant, if necessary, the commission will forward Judge Brown’s name to the chief justice for consideration for reappointment. If reappointed, Judge Brown is subject to Senate confirmation during the 2021 legislative session. He will serve a four-year term if confirmed.