Regardless of party affiliation, of the three candidates for clerk of the Supreme Court, there is only one candidate who is qualified by disposition, training and experience to be elected and serve in that office: Rex Renk!
The clerk is responsible for maintaining the office as independent and nonpartisan. Unlike other partisan offices, the Clerk’s Office does not make policy. Here are just a few of the clerk’s responsibilities and duties:
• accurately maintain the official court records and guarantee the public’s constitutional right of access to those;
• guarantee the right of individual privacy in those records which are confidential by law or court order;
• assist filers to comply with the rules of appellate procedure;
• maintain the Public View Docket and the website which allow public internet access to public documents, court opinions and orders, and attorney disciplinary complaints;
• manage all office employees, present budget requests to and meet as necessary with the legislature; and
• assist justices and judges when called upon.
To this last point, each of us has worked personally with Renk during our careers, both as attorneys and while serving on the Supreme Court. Whenever we had questions about documents or the status of filings, whenever we needed statistical or court management information, whenever we needed information about the status of an attorney disciplinary proceeding or licensing matter, whenever we required information regarding one of the court’s many boards and commissions, Renk provided it promptly, professionally and reliably. Not once did we question the accuracy or quality of Renk's work.
It is not an exaggeration to state that without a qualified, trained and experienced leader at the helm of the Clerk of Court’s Office, the important work of the third branch of government — Montana’s judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular—will be seriously hampered. And, attorneys around the state will find the representation of their clients more difficult. The clerk of the Supreme Court is not a job that an inexperienced and untrained partisan can simply jump into without ever having set foot in the office. Rather, performing the duties and responsibilities of this office takes the knowledge and experience that Renk has accumulated over more than two decades.
Renk has been assisting the clerk and court and performing the above duties and responsibilities as the office’s chief deputy for 23 years. He is the only candidate who can claim this experience and competence. He is the only candidate who can hit the ground running. Indeed, he is the only candidate who knows anything about the Clerk’s Office at all. Renk is an upstanding citizen, a lifelong Montanan and a family man. He has no agenda or axes to grind — his only promise is to provide good, reliable service to the bench, the bar and the public.
Renk has been endorsed by a retired clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, by all retired Montana Supreme Court justices, and by numerous attorneys and community leaders from both political parties and from all over the state. We urge you to join them by voting for Rex Renk for Montana Supreme Court clerk.
This opinion is signed by retired Montana Supreme Court Justices Patricia Cotter, William Leaphart, James Nelson, Terry Trieweiler, John Warner, James Regnier and Mike Wheat.
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