Mike Black Supreme Court

Author: blackformontana

Guest opinion: Calling balls and strikes for Montana

 

By Mike Black, Candidate, Montana Supreme Court Seat #5, 2020 General Election, as published in the Billings Gazette 9.18.2020

https://billingsgazette.com/opinion/columnists/guest-opinion-calling-balls-and-strikes-for-montana/article_f312d95f-6571-5e9c-80b4-6bddd88d9641.html

 

It is news to many people that in Montana voters elect our Supreme Court Justices. Often, come Election Day, many voters wonder about who they should support to serve on Montana’s highest court. Do not let that happen to you. Keeping the court out of thehands of dark money and corporate control is in the balance.

 
During his 2005 confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court stressed that Justices are servants of the law, not the other way around, and they are like umpires — the job is to call balls and strikes, and not to pitch or bat. They must have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent shaped by other Justices who served before them.
 
 
Justice McKinnon has spent too much time in the batter’s box swinging at wild pitches. After moving to Montana from the East Coast, Justice McKinnon was elected in 2012 with the help of dark money poured into Montana by wealthy out-of-state interests. Since then, she has voted in favor of her dark money benefactors in cases before the Supreme Court — without even disclosing they spent many thousands of dollars to get her elected and before this dark money spending became public.
 
 
Justice McKinnon has also repeatedly written and joined opinions against the majority of the other justices. These opinions show she does not:
 
(1) respect established Montana law protecting a woman’s right to choose and the fundamental right to privacy in the Montana Constitution;
 
(2) respect established Montana law protecting consumers and working people from unfair practices by insurance companies and large corporations; and
 
(3) respect established Montana law protecting access to our public land and water for hiking, biking, floating, hunting and fishing. Justice McKinnon has an agenda, working over and over against the fundamental rights guaranteed to Montanans by the Montana Constitution.
 
She does not merely call balls and strikes like an umpire. She too often stands in the batter’s box as an advocate, hoping to hit a home run for her wealthy patrons and to overturn settled Montana law.
 
 
In June 2019, Justice McKinnon announced she would retire and return to the East Coast. She bought a home in North Carolina and public records indicate her North Carolina home became her “principal residence.” Late last year, after a trip to the East Coast where she reported, “They kind of poured a little cement down my spine,” and convinced her to run again. She has never identified who “they” are, or why. Was she promised more dark money support? The voters deserve an explanation from her and a commitment she will serve out her term if she wins the election.
 
 
That is why you need to pay close attention to the 2020 Montana Supreme Court race. Do you want the Big Sky Country’s highest court to lean even more toward the interests of wealthy dark money donors, large corporations and insurance companies? Or will you stand with me, Mike Black, and support my candidacy for the Court? My friends call me a “man of the people” and they are right.
 
 
Everybody will get equal and fair consideration if you elect me to serve Montana on our Supreme Court. I was born and raised here — I am not going anywhere. I stand with Montanans. I will call balls and strikes, respecting and following settled Montana law and the Montana Constitution.

Mike Black:  Endorsed by Five Retired Montana Supreme Court Justices

Mike Black: Endorsed by Five Retired Montana Supreme Court Justices

I’m honored to earn the endorsement and support of five retired Montana Supreme Court Justices:  James Nelson, Terry Trieweiler, Mike Wheat, William Leaphard and Jim Regnier.

As published in the Montana Standard (Butte), the Missoulian, the Billings Gazette, The Havre Herald, The Helena Independent Recort, the Montana Post and others …

https://mtstandard.com/opinion/columnists/guest-view-mike-black-for-the-montana-supreme-court/article_65d114d1-6efb-5e43-b1f9-4a565a5cab8d.html

Guest view: Mike Black for the Montana Supreme Court – April 9, 2020

As a matter of constitutional law, a state may provide more — and greater — protection of constitutional rights than does the federal constitution. This legal doctrine will become increasingly important in the coming decades, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s membership and its dismal record protecting civil rights and the rule of law.
 

Indeed, Montana’s Constitution guarantees some 17 rights not protected in the federal constitution — a clean and healthful environment, human dignity, the right to participate in and examine government documents and observe its deliberations, educational rights, and the peoples’ use of Montana’s waters, to name just a few.

That’s why the 2020 State Supreme Court election is so important; it is that court which interprets and enforces our cherished Montana rights and values.

Of the three individuals seeking election to Seat 5, attorney Mike Black is uniquely qualified.

Mike is a native, fourth generation Montanan, growing up in a blue-collar railroad family; he’s worked as a farmhand, janitor and dishwasher; he put himself through college and law school.

Mike has actively practiced law here since 1991, representing Montanans in every state and federal court in Montana, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Mike served as Senior Assistant Attorney General and Civil Bureau Chief and litigated to protect Montanans’ constitutional rights. Mike consistently fights to increase Montanans’ ability to access justice.
 
 
Indeed, in putting “their” person on the court, these purveyors of dark money and partisan influence constantly litigate to deny Montanans their constitutional rights of access to Montana’s waters in which to fish and recreate; to utilize public lands on which to hike and camp; and to enjoy the “quiet beauty of our state” with their families — as Mike and his family often do.
 
 
To date Montana’s Supreme Court has jealously guarded these rights and values. Voters must insure that that commitment remains in the justices elected to the court. Dark money interests and those who flagrantly violate Montana’s campaign finance laws have no regard for fair, independent and impartial judges — indeed quite to the contrary.
 
 
Mike Black is eminently qualified by background, training and experience to serve as the Court’s next Seat 5 justice. His personal and professional history is one demonstrating exemplary character and competence, earning him the statewide respect from members of the bench and Bar.

Mike Black Formally Files with the Office of the Montana Secretary of State As a Candidate to Serve as a Justice on the Montana Supreme Court

Mike Black Formally Files with the Office of the Montana Secretary of State As a Candidate to Serve as a Justice on the Montana Supreme Court

MONTANA – Mike Black announced today that he formally filed as a candidate for the Montana Supreme Court with the Office of the Montana Secretary of State, an action Mr. Black took today on the first day of filing for the 2020 election cycle.  

Mike Black

Mike Black is a fourth-generation Montanan who was born and raised in Havre. His family moved to the Hi-Line over a century ago. He grew up in a railroad family and worked his way through school in jobs such as dishwasher, fry cook, farmhand, and janitor. 

Black graduated with high honors from the University of Montana with a degree in history/political science, and later graduated from the Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York. He was admitted to practice law in Montana in 1991. He has focused on litigation, taking on a wide variety of cases over the course of his career.


Black’s experience and law practice includes representation of people from all walks of life in cases from Justice Court all the way to the United States Supreme Court. He has argued appeals before the Montana Supreme Court and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals numerous times. He has practiced as a partner in firms both large and small, and as a sole practitioner. After twenty years of private practice, he shifted to public service.

In 2011, Black moved to Helena to join the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ), serving as a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Civil Bureau Chief in the Attorney General’s Office until 2015. While at DOJ, Black litigated constitutional cases for Montana in court, including matters opposing dark money in Montana elections and partisan influence in our judicial elections. He then joined Montana Legal Services Association as its Litigation Director and remained there until early 2018. His work at MLSA involved efforts to increase access to justice for Montana’s less fortunate. Currently, Black practices law as “of counsel” to the Bozeman firm Beck, Amsden & Stalpes, focused on consumer rights and employee benefits litigation. 

Black has served with a variety of non-profit organizations and on government boards, including as trustee of the Granite County Hospital District.  In his spare time, Black travels Montana, hikes its back country, and enjoys time with his family.

Mike Black – Biography

Mike Black – Biography

Candidate – Montana Supreme Court – Election Year 2020

Mike Black is a fourth-generation Montanan who was born and raised in Havre. His family has homesteader roots and moved to the Hi-Line over a century ago. He grew up in a railroad family accustomed to hard work. As a boy, he sold items door-to-door, like pumpkins from the garden, to make money. Black worked his way through school in jobs such as dishwasher, fry cook, farmhand, and janitor.

Black graduated with high honors from the University of Montana in Missoula with a degree in history/political science, and later graduated from the Cornell University Law School in Ithaca, New York. He was admitted to practice law in Montana in 1991. He has litigated a wide variety of cases over the course of his career, from complex civil litigation to family law matters.

Black’s experience and law practice includes representation of people from all walks of life in cases from Justice Court all the way to the United States Supreme Court. He has argued appeals before the Montana Supreme Court and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals numerous times. He has practiced as a partner in firms both large and small, and as a sole practitioner.

In 2011, Black moved to Helena to join the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ), serving as a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Civil Bureau Chief in the Attorney General’s Office until 2015. While at DOJ, Black worked for Attorney Generals of both parties and litigated constitutional issues, working to enforce Montana law, fighting dark money in our elections, and opposing partisan influence in judicial elections. He then joined Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) as its Litigation Director and remained there until early 2018. His work at MLSA involved efforts to increase access to justice for Montana’s less fortunate. Currently, Black is in private practice focused on employee benefits and breach of fiduciary duty litigation.

Black has served with a variety of non-profit organizations and on government boards, including as trustee of the Granite County Hospital District.

In his spare time, Black travels Montana, hikes its backcountry, and enjoys time with his family.

Learn more and consider a donation at www.blackformontana.com

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