Philosophy

Life may not be fair, but the rules we live by must be.

montana supreme court justice laurie mckinnon
montana supreme court justices

Life may not be fair, but the rules we live by must be. In America, fairness is the foundation of our laws. The role of a judge or justice is to interpret and apply these laws—not rewrite them.

Our system of government has at its foundation three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative and executive branches are by their very nature subject to change based on current or popular thinking. The judicial branch, however, provides the foundational stability our system of government requires. Made up of our nation’s courts and judges, its only job is to decide what’s fair.

I consider myself to be a non-partisan person and I believe strongly in the rule of law. I know that my one and only job as a Justice of Montana’s Supreme Court is to follow the rule of law and uphold the constitution. In doing so, I know that I won’t always win popularity contests or score high poll numbers.

But I know that Montanans look to their courts for fairness and trust that judges will handle their cases with an even hand. I promise I will hear everyone’s voice and consider your case as if it were mine.

So I don’t bend the rules. I don’t bend to pressure. I don’t represent one group or party over another. And I don’t make decisions based on my personal opinions. I have and will continue to be an impartial justice who applies the law without playing favorites and is free from fear, sympathy, or prejudice.

My promises to you are the same promises I made and have kept the last 13 years as your judge and justice. I promise to be fair, to uphold the Constitution, and to follow the rule of law. With all my heart I believe that only legislators should make law. If you review my work as a judge on the Supreme Court of Montana, you will find a record of fairness, impartiality, devotion to the rule of law, and good old fashioned hard work. I will continue to abide by these same principles if afforded the opportunity to continue serving on Montana’s Supreme Court.