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District of Montana History

District of Montana Article III Judgeships:

Under Article III of the United States Constitution, the President appoints United States district judges with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana has grown from its orginal one judge in 1889 to three judges and three senior judges.

  • Judgeship #1 (1889): On February 22, 1989, Congress organized Montana as one judicial district, authorized one judgeship for the U.S. District Court, and assigned the District of Montana to the Ninth Circuit. Hiram Knowles became the first Article III judge in 1890, followed by William Henry Hunt, Carl Rasch, George M. Bourquin, James Harris Baldwin, Robert Lewis Brown, Sr., William D. Murray, Russell Evans Smith, Paul G. Hatfield, Donald W. Molloy, and Dana L. Christensen.

  • Judgeship #2 (1922): On September 14, 1922, one temporary judgeship was authorized by 42 Stat. 837. This judgeship was made permanent by 52. Stat 584 on May 31, 1938. Charles Nelson Pray received commission in 1924 as the first judge under this judgeship, followed by William James Jameson, James Franklin Battin, Jack D. Shanstrom, Richard F. Cebull, and Susan P. Watters.

  • Judgeship #3 (1984): On July 10, 1984, the third judgeship was authorized by 98 Stat. 333. Charles C. Lovell received commission in April of 1995 as the first judge under Judgeship #3, followed by Sam E. Haddon, and Brian M. Morris.

District of Montana Judicial Portraits: