United States District Court for the District of Montana

United States District Court for the District of Montana
(D. Mont.)
Appeals to: Ninth Circuit
Established: February 22, 1889
Judges assigned: 3
Chief Judge: Dana L. Christensen

The United States District Court for the District of Montana (in case citations, D. Mont.) is the United States District Court whose jurisdiction is the state of Montana (except the part of the state within Yellowstone National Park, which is under the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming).[1][2] The court is located in Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula.

Cases from the District of Montana are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Montana represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana is Michael Cotter.


The District of Montana was organized on February 22, 1889, by 25 Stat. 676, following Montana's admission to statehood. Congress organized Montana as a single judicial district, and authorized one judgeship for the district court, which was assigned to the Ninth Circuit. A temporary second judgeship was added on September 14, 1922, by 42 Stat. 837, and was made permanent on May 31, 1938, by 52 Stat. 584. On July 10, 1984, by 98 Stat. 333, the third judgeship was authorized.


# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
18 Chief Judge Dana L. Christensen Missoula 1951 2011–present 2013–present Obama
19 District Judge Brian Morris Great Falls 1963 2013–present Obama
20 District Judge Susan P. Watters Billings 1958 2013–present Obama
13 Senior Judge Charles C. Lovell Helena 1929 1985–2000 2000–present Reagan
15 Senior Judge Donald W. Molloy Missoula 1946 1996–2011 2001–2008 2011–present Clinton
17 Senior Judge Sam E. Haddon Great Falls 1937 2001–2012 2012–present G.W. Bush

Former Judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Knowles, HiramHiram Knowles MT 1834–1911 1890–1904 Harrison, B.B. Harrison retirement
2 Hunt, William HenryWilliam Henry Hunt MT 1857–1949 1904–1910 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt reappointment
3 Rasch, Carl L.Carl L. Rasch MT 1866–1961 1910–1911 Taft, Taft resignation
4 Bourquin, George M.George M. Bourquin MT 1863–1958 1912–1934 1934–1958 Taft, Taft death
5 Pray, Charles NelsonCharles Nelson Pray MT 1868–1963 1924–1957 1948–1957 1957–1963 Coolidge, Coolidge death
6 Baldwin, James HarrisJames Harris Baldwin MT 1876–1944 1935–1944 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
7 Brown, Sr., Robert LewisRobert Lewis Brown, Sr. MT 1892–1948 1945–1948 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
8 Murray, William DanielWilliam Daniel Murray MT 1908–1994 1949–1965 1957–1965 1965–1994 Truman, Truman death
9 Jameson, William JamesWilliam James Jameson MT 1898–1990 1957–1969 1965–1968 1969–1990 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
10 Smith, Russell EvansRussell Evans Smith MT 1908–1990 1966–1979 1968–1978 1979–1990 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
11 Battin, James FranklinJames Franklin Battin MT 1925–1996 1969–1990 1978–1990 1990–1996 Nixon, Nixon death
12 Hatfield, Paul G.Paul G. Hatfield MT 1928–2000 1979–1996 1990–1996 1996–2000 Carter, Carter death
14 Jack D. Shanstrom MT 1932–present 1990–2001 1996–2001 2001–2013 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement
16 Cebull, Richard F.Richard F. Cebull MT 1944–present 2001–2013 2008–2013 2013 Bush, G.W.G.W. Bush retirement

Succession of seats

Seat 1
Seat established on November 8, 1889, by 25 Stat. 676
Knowles 1890–1904
Hunt 1904–1910
Rasch 1910–1911
Bourquin 1912–1934
Baldwin 1935–1944
Brown, Sr. 1945–1948
Murray 1949–1965
Smith 1966–1979
Hatfield 1979–1996
Molloy 1996–2011
Christensen 2011–present

Seat 2
Seat established on September 14, 1922, by 42 Stat. 837 (temporary)
Seat made permanent on May 31, 1938, by 52 Stat. 584
Pray 1924–1957
Jameson 1957–1969
Battin 1969–1990
Shanstrom 1990–2001
Cebull 2001–2013
Watters 2013–present

Seat 3
Seat established on July 10, 1984, by 98 Stat. 333
Lovell 1985–2000
Haddon 2001–2012
Morris 2013–present

See also


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