The 2011 Montana Legislature thinks you are going to vote against your own interests.
Why else would it put LR-119 -- a legislative referendum to take away your ability to vote for six of the state's seven Montana Supreme Court justices?
Of course, they dressed the whole thing up in sheep's clothing by saying it's about representation. If passed, the referendum would create a system to elect justices by district rather than statewide.
Justices' decisions have nothing (or rather should have nothing) to do with where they come from. They are supposed to be based upon state law and the Montana Constitution. As was well-put in a Great Falls Tribune editorial, "A supreme court isn't like a legislature."
This is an attempt to politicize a body that is supposed to be apolitical. And it would take away your ability to vote for all but one of the justices.
As pointed out by ACLU of Montana Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic, this referendum is not just wrong-headed, it's also unconstitutional. The legislature cannot change the residency requirements of the Montana Supreme Court without amending the state constitution, something this referendum does not do.
Though the politics of primaries will likely eclipse this referendum, we urge you to talk about it to family and friends and explain why it's dangerous. Remember, the politicians who move on after the June primary will only be around for a few years, should it pass, this referendum could have harmful effects on Montana for decades to come.