MISSOULA -- Medical marijuana businessman Jason Christ is taking his fight for access to the University of Montana's Law Library to the state Supreme Court.
In an emergency petition to the court, Christ said the matter "represents constitutional issues of the most fundamental importance."
In 2009 and 2010, Christ gained wide recognition helping hundreds of people obtain a physician's recommendations for medical marijuana with his traveling one-day "clinics."
But, in 2011, his focus swung to legal matters and, acting as his own lawyer, he filed 13 lawsuits -- mostly against former business associates and competitors -- in Missoula County District Court. He's also embroiled in legal action in Missoula Municipal Court, with a number of restraining orders filed both by and against him, including a yearlong order granted last month against him that puts the UM campus off limits.
Christ sought an emergency order in District Court lifting the restriction and then, on Thursday, turned to the state's highest court.
"In order to compensate for his lack of legal experience and training, his requirement to the law library is absolute and protected by the U.S. Constitution," he wrote in his emergency petition to the Supreme Court.
Christ was silent on Monday when contacted about the case.
Although the District Court suggested that he use the resources of the Office of Public Defender, Christ wrote in his petition that that office "does not have a law library that is suitable for pro se litigants, as it has only copies of the MCA (Montana Code Annotated) and a copy machine."
In addition to the lawsuits, Christ faces a criminal felony intimidation charge, stemming from an alleged bomb threat against a Verizon store in August 2010.
Christ represents himself in that case, too, although Public Defender Katie Green is on standby. At a Dec. 13 hearing in that case, Christ asked District Court Judge Karen Townsend to grant him access to the law library, but that hasn't happened.
"The District Court violated Mr. Christ's right to freedom of pro se litigation by treating Mr. Christ's motions as irrational, and violated his rights to personal access to the law library and access to the courts and dignity by authorizing the forced removal of Mr. Christ's right of self-representation and by depriving Mr. Christ of the power to make informed decisions regarding his rights to redress under the law and to represent and defend himself in serious pending criminal charges," Christ wrote.
On Friday, Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath ordered the District Court and Municipal Court to file responses to Christ's petition within 20 days.