HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court on Monday gave those challenging Lawrence VanDyke’s eligibility to run for a justice seat one week to respond to VanDyke's petition asking the court to take over the case.
On Friday, VanDyke petitioned the Supreme Court, asking it to take control of a lawsuit filed in District Court in Helena.
On March 21, five delegates to the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention filed a lawsuit. They contended that VanDyke hadn’t been admitted to practice law in Montana long enough to meet the state’s constitutional requirement.
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As a result, VanDyke’s name should not be allowed on the ballot, they said. That would leave Justice Mike Wheat unopposed for re-election.
VanDyke, the state’s solicitor general, said he meets the legal requirements and his name should remain on the ballot. He asked the Supreme Court take over the case from the District Court and asked that it be expedited.
Primary election ballots will be mailed by April 18 to military and overseas voters.