I have practiced law in the state of Montana for 33 years and it is out of respect for our system of justice that I write this letter.
Lawrence Van Dyke is running for a spot on the Montana Supreme Court – seeking to displace Justice Mike Wheat. Van Dyke has less than two years of legal experience in Montana and little, if any, courtroom experience in Montana. The word “judge” presupposes “judgement” and it troubles me that Van Dyke could possibly consider himself qualified to be on our Supreme Court. I expect that voters who learn of Van Dyke’s gross lack of experience will not consider him qualified to serve on our highest court and make decisions that impact our state and its citizens.
It is also ironic that Van Dyke takes issue with the fact that the Montana legal community, and particularly those who actually use the state’s courtrooms representing Montana businesses, families and individuals – its trial lawyers – overwhelmingly support Justice Mike Wheat. Of course they do. They know better than anyone the importance of integrity, honor, fairness, experience and judicial temperament on our court. Those are the qualities we all require in our judges – and that describe Justice Wheat!
I have lived in Montana all my life and it is my belief that the makeup of our Supreme Court is serious business – not a playground for out-of-state interests. I urge all Montanans to take this election seriously and vote for Mike Wheat – a lifetime Montanan, a Marine Corp veteran, a lawyer with 36 years legal experience in Montana, a Supreme Court justice nominated by the state’s Judicial Selection Committee, appointed by the governor and then elected by the citizens of Montana. Make an informed choice to retain the integrity of the Montana Supreme Court; vote for Justice Mike Wheat.
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