Supreme Court Candidate: Are you Republican or Democrat?

Aaron Flint posted on September 24, 2014 12:35 :: 2681 Views

Montana Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke has an attention grabbing spot that is making the rounds on social media.  He asks, are you Republican or Democrat?

The Great Falls Tribune: Supreme Court candidates square off in Missoula

Wheat, a former Democratic lawmaker from Bozeman was appointed to the Supreme Court by former Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 2010. Wheat is facing a challenge from VanDyke, the former solicitor general under Republican Attorney General Tim Fox.

VanDyke said he is not seeking partisan endorsements, but he does believe in organizations’ right to free speech. VanDyke said the Montana Trial Lawyers Association spent more than $300,000 in former justice Jim Nelson’s re-election campaign in 2004, and he expect the group to spend “high six digit figures” in support of Wheat this time around.

“I’m not asking for any partisan endorsements, but I do believe in free-speech rights of organizations to say what they believe,” VanDyke said. “The issue is whether or not the trial lawyers are going to be the only ones who are spending money.”

The Missoulian: Montana Supreme Court candidates debate funding, partisanship, more at UM

Both challengers took digs at their opponents, with VanDyke calling Wheat a “results-oriented” justice who looked to other decisions to support his own opinions. VanDyke also made numerous references to Wheat’s past as a Democratic legislator.

“The question isn’t if he’s a former Democrat or a trial lawyer, but rather if he judges well,” VanDyke said, adding that the Montana Chamber of Commerce has given Wheat a low approval rating. “When you’re that far out of the mainstream and you’re a former trial lawyer, the question is, does it influence your decision-making?”

Wheat said VanDyke was inexperienced in Montana law and lacked leadership, though he largely ignored his opponent’s digs. Wheat focused on discussing the law, several recent high court rulings and his concern that partisan money was influencing state judicial elections.

Post by Lawrence VanDyke for Montana Supreme Court.


J. C. Kantorowicz – Great Falls

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:01 AM

“Partisan money influencing judicial races…” Well, lets hope so! By what stretch of the imagination does this former democrat lawmaker from Bozeman think that once he…. or anyone else for that matter… decides to run for a judgeship that their previous partisan political stature no longer matters and should be ignored?

This practice of dropping political alliances to run for a judgeship has to stop. It nauseates me to think how many liberal lawyers I have voted for because they hid their true colors in their campaign.

Even Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court (which we all acknowledge as political) often turn out to be contrary to the President’s own political party.

Crafty lawyers……

Al Smith

Friday, October 03, 2014 4:00 PM

Not so much whether they are democrats or republicans but whether they support traditional values rather than progressive liberal ideas. I can name a few democrats who are conservative, but very few. As J. C. alludes, a leopard cannot shake off its spots. We deserve to know the true background of any candidate who plans to issue judgements and from life experience it’s obvious to me one’s political leaning affects those judgements.

Montana needs to toss the non-partisan horse pucky onto the dung heap of history so voters can judge for themselves the political flavor of any judicial candidate for which we are casting our ballots.

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