James Brown: Bring balance back to the Montana Supreme Court

James Brown
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

I’m a fourth-generation Montanan who grew up in Dillon, small business owner, private practice attorney and public servant. My entire 15-plus year legal career has been dedicated to protecting the legal rights of Montanans and upholding the rule of law. I have primarily represented Montana’s farmers, ranchers, and small business owners in both state and federal courts.

I also serve as the President of the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC), where I oversee 31 state employees and manage a budget of roughly $4.8 million. In this capacity, I consider and rule on legal cases in the same manner as a District Court Judge does. I will bring this diverse legal and management experience to the job on day one.

I’m running for the Montana Supreme Court because I have a deep love for Montana and seek to have a judiciary that both protects the rights of Montana citizens and respects the separation of government powers called for in the Montana Constitution.

We have seen unprecedented attacks on law enforcement and on first responders, on parental rights, on individual liberty, on the Second Amendments, and on small businesses. Montanans are greatly concerned about judges using their positions to make policy decisions. Under the State Constitution, lawmaking is left

to the people and to their elected representatives. Thomas Jefferson expressly recognized the danger to the delicate system of government checks and balances that can be caused when judges can shape the law into any form they please. That’s why we must restore balance to the Montana Supreme Court.

My judicial philosophy is one of being a strict constructionist, meaning that I view my role as a Justice to be one that merely applies the facts of any given case to the law and constitution as written – and never legislates from the bench. Contrast my philosophy with my opponent’s liberal judicial record.

In its 2020-21 judicial review scorecard, the Montana Chamber of Commerce gave my opponent a “F Rating” when it comes to protecting Montana jobs and small businesses. That’s an incomprehensible grade and was the lowest score of any Justice on the Supreme Court.

My opponent has been routinely criticized for making law from the bench, including by her own colleagues. My opponent has a reputation among the law enforcement community for being soft on crime and pro-criminal. It was her vote that overturned an 80year prison sentence of a convicted felon based on a technicality and she also overturned the conviction of a child sex abuser.

Finally, she’s often fond of “condemning” politics in the courtroom. But behind closed doors she shares a strong allegiance with liberal special interest groups. She holds campaign events with former Democrat Governor Steve Bullock and former Democrat U.S. Senator Max Baucus and gladly accepts large contributions from out of state liberal donors who also supported Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. She claims to be ‘independent’ but she is openly backed by liberal trial lawyers who are spending over a half million dollars to influence the outcome of this race. And, more problematic for judicial independence, these trial lawyers regularly appear before her in Court when they’ve donated to her campaign. The truth is, the Montana Supreme Court can and must be better. Montanans deserve a Justice who will not use the courtroom to advance personal agendas. I humbly ask for your vote this election because I am dedicated to restoring the Court to a body that merely applies the law as written. And, as your next Justice, I will work each day to restore balance and accountability to the judicial branch and to always protect our Montana way of life.

James Brown is a fourth generation Montanan, small business owner, private practice attorney, and public servant. Brown, a Dillon native, is running for the Montana Supreme Court, Seat #2.