At the November 2012 ballot, 70% of Montana voters approved LR-120, a statue referred to the ballot by the legislature to require parental notification prior to a minor obtaining an abortion. Angry that it appears likely that the Montana Supreme Court could or may strike that statute down as unconstitutional, and citing a open meetings provision in the state constitution, a member of the Montana House has introduced a bill to mandate the seven members of the Montana Supreme Court deliberate not in chambers or in a conference room, but in a public forum.
HB 424 would amend the state’s Open Public Meetings Law to repeal an exemption that “The supreme court may close a meeting that involves judicial deliberations in an adversarial proceeding.” During a hearing held yesterday the proponent cited Montana Constitution Art. II, Sec. 9 for the proposition that the court was a “public body or agency” that was required to have its deliberations conducted in public.
No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.