Montana’s highest court is the Montana Supreme Court. The court has six associate justices and one chief justice. Chief justices are elected in the same manner as associate justices. (Source: Montana Constitution; Montana Supreme Court Overview)

Judicial Selection

Montana Supreme Court justices are selected to serve eight-year terms through a nonpartisan election, where multiple candidates may vie for the seat. Justices may seek additional terms through nonpartisan elections. If no candidates register to challenge the incumbent, the justice stands in an unopposed yes/no retention vote. When a seat opens in the middle of a justice’s term, the governor appoints a candidate to fill the vacancy. The candidate must be confirmed by a majority of the state senate. The appointed justice holds office until Montana’s next general election. The elected justice serves the remainder of the unexpired term. There are no term limits, nor is there a mandatory retirement age. 

State Constitution

Montana has had two state constitutions adopted in 1889 and 1972. As of January 1, 2024, it had 36 amendments. (Source: John Dinan, 2024)



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