HELENA — Montana officials are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's ruling that allows political parties to endorse nonpartisan candidates in Montana's judicial elections.
Attorney General Tim Fox and Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl filed the petition Monday.
They are asking the justices to review a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that struck down Montana's ban on party endorsements in judicial elections as an unconstitutional violation of free speech.
Fox and Motl say the 9th Circuit's decision ignores constitutional issues that are of "extreme and fundamental importance" to states' sovereign right to decide how judicial elections are held.
The Supreme Court rarely accepts petitions to review lower-court rulings. There is no timeline for the court to decide whether to take up the Montana case.