U.S. Supreme Court Unlikely to Hear Montana’s Appeal on Whether Political Parties May Endorse Candidates for Judge

Last year the Ninth Circuit struck down Montana’s law making it a crime for a qualified political party to endorse or oppose a candidate in a judicial election. In November 2013, Montana asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that decision. The case is Fox v Sanders County Republican Party, 13-839.

On January 15, the Republican Party, which had won the case in the lower court, waived its right to respond to Montana’s cert petition. On January 29 the U.S. Supreme Court set a conference date of February 21 for this case, to decide whether to hear it or not.

It has now been almost a month since the Republican Party waived its right to respond. Normally, when the side that won in the lower court waives its right to respond to a cert petition, if the U.S. Supreme Court is seriously thinking about taking the case, it asks for a response. Because it has been so long since the Republican Party waived its right to respond, and because the Court hasn’t asked the Republican Party to respond, that is a signal that the Court isn’t interested in hearing the case.

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