Schweitzer makes Supreme Court appointment

Chris Rizo Dec. 24, 2009, 8:50am

HELENA, Mont. (Legal Newsline)-Attorney Mike Wheat has been appointed to fill the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy, the governor's office said.

The high court seat is being vacated by Justice John Warner, who is retiring this month.

Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer made the announcement Wednesday.

"It is an honor to appoint Mike Wheat as Supreme Court Justice," Schweitzer said in a statement. "He is an outstanding attorney and will represent Montana fairly on the bench. All the candidates forwarded to me for this position were excellent and qualified. I felt Wheat was the most ready to serve as Justice and run for election this coming year."

Wheat, 62, is a named partner in the Bozeman law firm Cok, Wheat & Kinzler. Wheat's practice emphasizes mediation and arbitration, the governor's statement said.

The appointment is for one year, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Wheat, a former state senator, will have to run for statewide election in 2010 if he wants to serve the remainder of Warner's term.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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