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Montana Governor Fights to Reform ‘Broken’ Judicial Nomination Process

Greg Gianforte delivers his victory speech during a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana, on May 25, 2017. (Colter Peterson/Reuters)

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, the first Republican to hold the seat in 16 years, does not want to miss a rare opportunity to reform his state’s judicial process.

In Montana, judges are chosen by voters — Supreme Court justices serve eight-year terms, and district judges serve six-year terms — and incumbents usually win. But in the case of a vacancy, the governor has the power to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of the term, after they are confirmed by the state Senate.

Now, Gianforte and state Republicans want to fix what they think is a “rigged” system of filling judicial vacancies.

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