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Montana Lawmakers Challenge Supreme Court Order In Separation Of Powers Dispute

Montana lawmakers are challenging a state Supreme Court order from July restricting their power to subpoena.

Lawmakers are asking the Montana Supreme Court to withdraw its ruling that legislators overstepped their power when issuing subpoenas.

Republican lawmakers subpoenaed the state’s seven Supreme Court justices and court administrator seeking emails and a computer hard drive.

The subpoenas were part of lawmakers’ ongoing investigation into the judiciary over allegations of bias and misconduct, which justices have denied and chastised lawmakers for making such claims.

The Montana Supreme Court’s order requires lawmakers to return any materials they received through the subpoenas before they were quashed.

Republican lawmakers, represented by the Montana Department of Justice, asked the court Wednesday to withdraw its opinion, saying it’s deeply flawed.

In a statement, Republican Rep. Sue Vinton said the court’s order is “flatly unconstitutional.”

The court did not take immediate action.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.