Dillon Native James Brown Announces Run For Montana Supreme Court
James Brown released the following statement today announcing his run for Montana Supreme Court Justice #2:
“I’ve been humbled by the wide support from Montanans who have asked me to run for and to represent our shared Montana values on the Supreme Court.
As a fourth-generation Montanan whose family homesteaded in Beaverhead County in the 1880s and as a private practice attorney for the last 17 years, I represented and defended the interests of Montana’s farmers, ranchers, and small businesses—and I’ll take those same Montana values to the Supreme Court as your next justice.
I’m running to preserve our rule of law, follow the Constitution, bring accountability back to the judicial branch, and to protect our Montana way of life.
As a member of the Montana Supreme Court, I will work to bring consistency to the Court, to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, to avoid legislating from the bench, and to be an impartial judge. As I have strived to do every day of my legal career, should I be elected to serve, I will protect and defend the freedoms, liberties, and livelihoods of every Montanan. At a time when confidence in the judiciary is being shaken, I will work to restore faith in the rule of law.
If elected, I will bring to the Court the recent experience of representing clients in Court proceedings, operating a small business, and in running a state agency with a roughly $5 million budget and 31 employees.”
Brown is a fourth-generation Montanan from Beaverhead County and a private practice attorney who owns and operates his own law firm in Dillon and Helena. Brown currently serves as Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC). In this capacity, Brown has been credited with restoring balance and credibility to the Commission.
Brown is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys camping, fishing, hiking in the backcountry, and mountain climbing. Brown summited Montana’s highest point, Granite Peak.
Brown’s family has a long history in Beaverhead County. Brown’s great grandfather homesteaded in the Grasshopper Valley in Southwest Montana in the 19th Century, moving to Montana in 1882. Brown’s grandfather built and developed the Elkhorn Hot Springs lodge and plunge near Polaris, Montana in the early 1920s. Brown’s father served in the Navy during WWII and with the CIA for decades during the Cold War.
Brown grew up in Dillon, attended Beaverhead County High School, and graduated in 1994 with a double major in History and Political Science from the University of Montana – Missoula. Brown has a Masters in Tax Law from the University of Washington. He clerked for the then Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court. He has been recognized professionally for his work in defending the constitutional rights of Montanans from government overreach and regulation.
As part of his legal practice, Brown has represented a variety of clients – ranging from agriculture producers, to state employees, to single mothers, to multiple use of public lands groups. Among his extensive legal cases, Brown’s legal work has resulted in the restoration of public road access to a road in Lewis and Clark County, the striking down of multiple state statutes that violated the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the protection of domestic sheep grazing practices in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
In his role as Chairman of the Montana PSC, Brown serves the same role as judges by deciding on legal matters and cases that come before the PSC for decision. When asked about his greatest professional achievements, Brown pointed to his work in obtaining funding to build a new wool lab at Montana State University and in working with the U.S. Department of Interior to secure funding for two grizzly bear specialists to help manage grizzly bear-livestock conflicts in Montana.
Brown is a member of the Leadership Montana program, the Montana Wool Growers Association, the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Historical Society, the University of Montana Alumni Association, the Montana Bar Association, and the Beaverhead County Chamber of Commerce. Brown serves as a board member on the Montana Council on Economic Education.
Brown has practiced before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court of Montana, the Montana Supreme Court and in various state district courts around Montana – from Lincoln County to Daniels County. He has represented a variety of clients on matters ranging from family law to complex environmental law and regulation.
More than anything Brown is proud to be a Montanan and to call the Treasure State home.