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Federal Judge Caught Stumping For Biden’s Green Agenda In Montana


U.S. District for Montana Chief Judge Brian Morris sparked scrutiny after speaking at a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) event advancing Biden’s “sustainability goals.” The judge spoke at a podium emblazoned with a sign reading “President Joe Biden” and “Investing in America.”

Ethics rules typically prohibit judges from participating in partisan events to avoid the appearance of politics affecting their decisions. Constitution-supporting Supreme Court justices such as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, for example, have been charged in the national press with conflicts of interest due to not theirs but their wives’ free speech and participation in the political process.

The Montana event touted the administration’s allocation of $24 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds to the Mike Mansfield Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Butte, Montanna, located in Morris’ district. These funds are allocated for purchasing materials allegedly made with lower greenhouse gas emissions and what GSA calls “sustainability performance improvements.”

“My grandmother and [grandfather] raised their seven children in a duplex [up the street]. And here we are, their grandson now comes to work every day in this courthouse down the block as a judge,” Morris said. “Shows you what kind of country we can have when we live up to our highest ideals. This is a great joy for me.” 

Morris’ appearance sparked pushback on X, where Aaron Flint, host of the statewide show Montana Talks, questioned the ethics of a federal judge appearing at a “partisan event.”

Flint’s tweet comes after local journalist Josh Margolis released a photo of Morris at the event. In the photo, the judge appears to be speaking behind a podium emblazoned with Biden’s name.

Morris is a member of the State Bar of Montana, which directs judges to “not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary” and to avoid even “the appearance of impropriety.” Although the GSA is a nominally independent agency within the executive branch, the funding clearly advances the Biden administration’s radical environmental agenda. 

“The project marks another step toward achieving President Biden’s federal sustainability goals, including a net zero emissions federal building portfolio by 2045 and net zero emissions procurement by 2050, while supporting good American manufacturing jobs,” reads a GSA press release on the matter.

The scrutiny comes amidst what many view as targeted ethics complaints against conservative jurists who oppose Democrats in policy and litigation. Among those is Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who faced a 41-count ethics complaint last year for his defense of Republican state legislators in litigation against the Montana Supreme Court. Knudsen’s office says the complaint is a “political stunt” intended to discourage Knudsen and others from “raising well-supported concerns about judicial misconduct in the future.”

Morris’ office and the State Bar of Montana did not respond to requests for comment.

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