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French v. McLean

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

October 6, 2014

MARK FRENCH, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD McLEAN, in his official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission; BLAIR JONES, in his official capacity as a member of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission; VICTOR VALGENTI, in his official capacity as a member of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission; JOHN MURPHY, in his official capacity as a member of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission; SUE SCHLIEP, in her official capacity as a member of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission, Defendants

For Mark French, Plaintiff: Matthew G. Monforton, LEAD ATTORNEY, MONFORTON LAW OFFICES, Bozeman, MT.

For Edward McLean, in his official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission, Blair Jones, in his official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission, Victor Valgenti, in his official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission, John Murphy, in his official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission, Sue Schleif, in her official capacity as Chair of Montana's Judicial Standards Commission Defendants: Andres Haladay, LEAD ATTORNEY, AGENCY LEGAL SERVICES BUREAU, Helena, MT.

For Mike McGrath, Honorable Chief Justice, Jim Rice, Hon., Michael Wheat, Hon., Patricia Cotter, Hon., Beth Baker, Hon., James Jeremiah Shea, Hon., Amici: W. William Leaphart, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Helena, MT.

Page 1147

ORDER

SAM E. HADDON, United States District Judge.

Background

This case challenges, on First Amendment grounds, Montana Judicial Code of Conduct Rule 4.1(A)(7).[1] Plaintiff Mark

Page 1148

French (" French" ) is a candidate for Sanders County Justice of the Peace in the 2014 general election.[2] He seeks to use endorsements from the Sanders County Republican Central Committee (" SCRCC" ) and from public officials and other candidates for public office during his judicial campaign.[3] It is Rule 4.1(A)(7)'s prohibition against such conduct by candidates for nonpartisan judicial office French seeks to enjoin.[4]

A Motion for Preliminary Injunction was filed on August 26, 2014.[5] The motion was opposed.[6] Six of seven individually-named Justices of the Montana Supreme Court appeared as amid curiae.[7] A hearing was held on October I, 2014. The Motion for Preliminary Injunction was DENIED. This Order supplements the Court's statement of reasons for its ruling stated on the record at the time of the hearing.

Issue

The core question addressed and resolved at the hearing was whether the preliminary injunction requested should be entered.

Discussion

Issuance of a preliminary injunction is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 65. Such injunctions may be issued only upon notice to the adverse party. Expedited consideration is expected. In addition, the Court is to issue a preliminary injunction " only if the movant gives security in an amount that the court considers proper to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party found to have been wrongfully enjoined." [8] Although no party even raised the issue of security, ...


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