MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana residents are being called upon to vote in the upcoming state Supreme Court race.
Justice Jim Shea, who is running unopposed but will appear on the ballot for retention votes, said Monday at a Montana Supreme Court election forum in Missoula that 40,000 voters in 2014 didn’t vote in the Supreme Court races, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported.
“It’s like the third-largest city in Montana just staying home,” he said. “We are the third co-equal branch of government in this state, and there are only seven of us on the Supreme Court. These are important races.”
Shea and Chief Justice Mike McGrath are both on November’s ballot unopposed, but longtime Cascade County District Judge Dirk Sandefur and former adjunct professor of law Kristen Juras are competing for an eight-year term to replace Justice Patricia Cotter.
At the election forum, both Shea and McGrath called on voters to better understand what the court does and to actively help shape Montana’s judicial system.
“We’re the only ones who don’t make decisions with an eye toward making everybody happy,” Shea said. “To quote (U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John) Roberts, the job of a judge is to call balls and strikes. We don’t get to change the strike zone because the Mariners are one game back to the wild card.”