MTPR

U.S. Supreme Court

Markus Kaarma listens to Judge McLean deliver his sentence of 70 years in prison, Feb. 12, 2015 in Missoula, Montana.
Christopher B. Allen

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man convicted of fatally shooting a German exchange student who was trespassing in his garage is asking the United States Supreme Court to consider his case.

Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday turned away challenges to open primaries in Hawaii and Montana.

Bozeman attorney Matthew Monforton, who served as a Republican Legislator in 2015, concedes this is the end of the line for Montanans who support closed primaries:

Can the governor's amendatory veto bring back the mail ballot option for the special election? We parse Quist's new TV ads and his decision not to participate in a public broadcasting statewide debate. We also discuss what Gianforte gains or loses by keeping a low profile. Then we look at how Tester's Gorsuch vote might affect his re-election chances next year. Finally, we remember the well-respected former Helena legislator Mignon Waterman who died this week.

Montana Senator Jon Tester.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Sen. Jon Tester released a statement to the press Sunday, saying that after "thoughtful deliberation, late nights, and the counsel of thousands of Montanans," he's decided he "cannot support the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch."

Gorsuch is President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

You can read Sen. Tester's statement on the Gorsuch nomination here.

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Yesterday Montana's Republican Attorney General Tim Fox sent Senator Jon Tester a letter, urging the Democrat to vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The letter comes as Senate Democratic leadership is urging a filibuster of Gorsuch's nomination. Time magazine says 35 Senate Democrats have pledged to vote to block Gorsuch, that's just six votes shy of the number needed for a successful filibuster. Montana Public Radio asked Tester how he'll vote on Gorsuch earlier this week.

NPR Politics team will live blog the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog will include streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It is Day 2 of what is expected to be three days of hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination. If confirmed, Gorsuch would fill the high court seat left vacant in February 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

A component of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that the agency says is optional is being attacked by 25 state attorneys general, including Montana’s. 

Medical marijuana sign.
Flickr user Laurie Avocado (CC-BY-2)

Medical marijuana advocates in Montana are running out of options to delay a state law that could shut down pot shops here in August. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it won't hear an appeal from the Montana Cannabis Industry Association over the 2011 Montana Marijuana Act.

UM enrollment official talks SCOTUS affirmative action ruling
YouTube

Thursday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action plan.

Staff in the admissions office at the University of Montana say that at least in the immediate future, not much will change.

Senator Jon Tester met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on Capitol Hill, May 12.
Courtesy Jon Tester

Sen. Jon Tester today met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Tester says he felt both impressed and aggravated after their meeting.

On this edition of “Campaign Beat”, we talk about the viability – and sincerity - of the campaigns of the two new candidates in the governor’s race; the last minute entry into the race for attorney general; Montana’s two senators’ views of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee; and who’s speaking at this weekend’s annual democratic Mansfield/Metcalf dinner.

U.S. Supreme Court
PD

Montana’s congressional delegation is deeply divided over President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. 

President Obama says his nominee, appeals court judge Merrick Garland, deserves a full hearing and an up or down Senate confirmation vote.

But Republicans control the Senate. They don’t want to give the president a chance to influence the court’s ideological balance before he leaves office.

Montana’s Republican Senator, Steve Daines, says the next Supreme Court Justice will have far-reaching impacts for a generation.

On this episode of "Campaign Beat:" The impact of Justice Scalia's death on the Clean Power Plan lawsuit and Montana's governor's race; the political impact of out-of-state control over Colstrip's future; new revelations of "dark money" spending, and the upcoming campaign finance trial of Rep. Art Wittich.

Montanans React To The Clean Power Plan Ruling

Feb 9, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
PD

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision late this afternoon to put President Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold is reverberating across Montana. That plan, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, called on Montana to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 47 percent by 2030, more than any other state.

Supreme Court Puts Clean Power Plan On Hold

Feb 9, 2016
Colstrip power plant as seen in the early 1980s.
David T. Hanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to halt enforcement of President Barack Obama's sweeping plan to address climate change until after legal challenges are resolved.

The moratorium on major new coal leases on federal land that the Obama administration announced today, is either long-overdue or the latest offensive in the ongoing war on coal. That depends on whom you ask.
BLM

Montana coal advocates are hailing the Supreme Court's ruling against the Obama administration's attempt to limit toxic emissions from power plants.

The justices ruled the Environmental Protection Agency failed to adequately consider costs when regulating emissions from coal and oil-fired plants.

Legislature Hears Passionate Testimony On Discrimination Protections For LGBTQ Montanans
Josh Burnham

Bozeman's Stacey Haugland never thought she'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized nationwide. The Supreme Court today guaranteed that right.

U.S. Supreme Court
PD

The Supreme Court will soon rule on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. Their decision could come as early as Thursday the 25th. This graphic shows how three possible outcomes would affect the laws in Montana and across the country.

Flickr user Archie McPhee (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Now that a federal judge has struck down Montana’s ban on gay marriage, questions remain about how that affects businesses who object to same-sex marriage for religious or other reasons.

University of Montana Law Professor Anthony Johnstone says civil rights laws that prevent businesses from discriminating against customers don’t include protections for sexual orientation.

11/03/2014 - “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” sums up most peoples’ understanding of the First Amendment. Many were dumbfounded when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a conservative organization named Citizens United, in the case of Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The 2010 ruling has further undermined democracy. Political campaigns are now flooded with dark money, untraceable funds that often determine the outcomes of ballot initiatives and elections.

Dear SCOTUS: Women Are People, Too

Jul 11, 2014

This week the Supreme Court ruled, again, that corporations are people – and essentially that women are not. In an impressive misuse of legal theory, a fundamental misunderstanding of science and anatomy, and a blatant disregard for the rights of women, the Supreme Court decided in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that “closely held” for-profit corporations have religious rights and can use them to prevent employees from getting the health care they need.

Montana politicians and interest groups were divided along party lines over this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act's birth control coverage mandate. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held private corporations do not have to provide birth control as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, if the corporations have religious objections to birth control.

The Honorable John Q. Corporation

Jul 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July – Independence Day – tomorrow.

But the old red, white and blue looks a little more tattered this year compared to the past.

For today, thanks in great part to the US Supreme Court, John Q. Citizen, the human being citizen who is the bedrock our unique experiment in self-governance, is being replaced by John Q. Corporation.

Corporate Religion

Jul 2, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term yesterday with a bang, again. We've just seen the Hobby Lobby case that grants some corporate entities the right to religious freedom under the First Amendment. I'm not sure the many people who decried the Court's granting personhood rights to corporate entities for political campaign spending in Citizens United saw this one coming – you could kind of understand a corporation speaking through its wallet, but a corporation gaining personhood to express a religious tenet based on the beliefs of its majority owners?

Edward O'Brien

A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled this week that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. That marks the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.
 
     The justices' 5-4 decision means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of objecting companies, such as Hobby Lobby.

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions today, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union's costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of non-members who disagree with the positions that unions take.

According to one regional union rep, the decision is expected to have no impact here in Montana.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let individuals give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want.

The 5-4 vote Wednesday, led by the court’s conservative majority, frees up wealthy contributors to give more campaign donations ahead of the 2014 election.

It will have an immediate impact on Montana races for federal office, such as the US Senate and House of Representatives.

But, the state Commissioner of Political Practices says statewide elections will not be affected that much.