Lee Newspapers reveals the shocking news that politics plays a role in the Supreme Court races here in Montana. I know, I’m like most everyone else who doesn’t think our judges should have to say whether they are Republicans or Democrats. However, all you have to do is look at the partisan decisions of the Montana Supreme Court to understand that they are far from being an independent force in Montana politics.
That being said, I’ve been seeing a lot of Supreme Court candidate Nels Swandal’s TV ads. Swandal is the first to hit the airwaves for the general election campaign.
Click below to watch the ad for yourself:
Here’s a link to the piece in the Billings Gazette. Craig Wilson summed up what appears to be a direct move by the Swandal campaign to emphasive the judge’s conservative principles on judicial restraint, especially during what is expected to be a big year for the GOP.
“Raising the partisan issue, as well as the ‘outsider’ issue, would seem like the best thing that Swandal can do,” Wilson said. “He may figure, ‘This is about the only way that I have a chance.’ ”
Swandal said being a conservative is part of who he is, and that he sees no reason to hide it from voters. He also has been emphasizing his experience as a judge, noting that neither Baker nor any sitting Supreme Court justice has that experience.
You don’t have to pass the bar exam to know the politics of the Montana Supreme Court races. Typically, the only folks to really get involved in Supreme Court races are with the Trial Lawyers lobby, and the conservatives remain more focused on legislative and congressional races. Therefore, the trial lawyers and their resources essentially decide who gets elected to the Supreme Court. I suspect this direct appeal by the Swandal campaign is a hope to get conservatives excited about his candidacy.