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Two Havreites in line for Supreme Court vacancy


HELENA (AP) - The Judicial Nomination Commission recommended Brian Morris, Chris Tweeten and District Judge John Warner to Gov. Judy Martz on Saturday as prospective successors to Supreme Court Justice Terry Trieweiler.

Morris, 39, has been a solicitor in the Justice Department for the past two years.

Tweeten, 49, has been chief deputy, chief counsel or chief civil counsel over the past 10 years in the state attorney general's office. He grew up in Havre.

Warner, 60, has been a district judge in Havre since 1988.

The commission chose them from 16 applicants for the job.

Trieweiler, who anchored the high court's liberal wing, announced in January that he would resign by the end of April - in the midst of his second eight-year term - and return to private practice.

His successor will be the Republican governor's second appointee to the seven-member court. She appointed Jim Rice, a Republican former member of the House, to fill a vacancy on the court last year.

Morris was a senior legal officer with the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 2000 to March 2001, and a legal assistant with the Iran-U.S. Claims Commission at The Hague in the Netherlands in 1994 and 1995. During the three years between the international positions, he was a partner in the Bozeman law firm of Goetz, Gallik, Baldwin and Dolan.

After receiving his law degree from Stanford in 1992, Morris was a law clerk for a year to Judge John T. Noonan Jr. on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and then for another year to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Tweeten ran for a seat on the high court in 2000 and lost to Patricia Cotter of Great Falls. He had applied for four previous vacancies.

He received his law degree from the University of Montana In 1977.

Warner received a law degree from UM in 1967 and was a law clerk for the Montana Supreme Court in 1967-68. After that he was in private practice in Havre for 20 years with the firm of Weber, Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale and Warner.

While he was a private attorney, he served as city attorney of Havre from 1984 to 1988, and was a hearing officer for the Public Service Commission in 1982. He served as chairman and a member of the Montana Medical-Legal panel from 1978 to 1984.


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