Michael E. Wheat

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Michael E. Wheat
Court Information:
Montana Supreme Court
Title:   Justice
Salary:  $125,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Brian Schweitzer
Active:   2010-2022
Preceded by:   John Warner
Past post:   Attorney in private practice
Past term:   1981-2010
Past post 2:   Montana State Senate
Past term 2:   2002-2010
Personal History
Party:   Democratic
Undergraduate:   University of Montana, 1975
Law School:   University of Montana, 1978
Military service:   U.S. Marine Corps
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Supreme Court
Position:  Seat 2
State:  Montana
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  6/3/2014
Primary vote:  61.5%ApprovedA
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  59.1%ApprovedA

Michael E. Wheat is a justice on the Montana Supreme Court. Wheat was appointed to this position by Governor Brian Schweitzer, taking office on January 5, 2010.[1] He was appointed to a seat which became vacant after the mid-term retirement of former justice John Warner. By law, Wheat was required to run in the next election to retain his seat. He ran in the November 2010 election and won the right to complete the term.[2]

Wheat was again retained by voters in 2014, winning an eight-year term that expires on December 31, 2022.[3]



For in-depth coverage of the state's high court races, see: Montana Supreme Court elections, 2014
See also: Montana judicial elections, 2014
Wheat ran for re-election to the Montana Supreme Court.
General: He defeated Lawrence VanDyke in the general election on November 4, 2014, receiving 59.1 percent of the vote.[4][5][6]

Though Montana judicial elections are nonpartisan, Wheat is a former Democratic state senator.[7]


  • Montana Conservation Voters[8]


Main article: Montana judicial elections, 2010

Wheat was elected to the Montana Supreme Court. He won the November 2010 general election, which allowed him to serve out the remainder of Warner's unexpired term.[9][10]


Wheat received an undergraduate degree in political science, in 1975, and a J.D., in 1978, from the University of Montana.[11]


Supreme court bid

Wheat was one of 11 attorneys who submitted an application to the Montana Judicial Nominating Commission for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Three nominees were selected by the commission: Carlo J. Canty, John S. Warren and Wheat. Governor Schweitzer appointed Wheat to the vacancy on January 5, 2010.

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Wheat received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -1.16, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.87 that justices received in Montana. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[12]

See also

External links


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