Big Sky Roundup

Gianforte appoints Belgrade judge for Gallatin County judicial vacancy

By: - December 1, 2021 3:25 pm

Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks at a press conference in Helena on August 24, 2021 (Arren Kimbel-Sannit/The Daily Montanan)

Gov. Greg Gianforte has appointed Belgrade judge Andrew Breuner to fulfill a judicial vacancy in Gallatin County District Court, the governor’s office announced on Wednesday.

The vacancy filled by Breuner was created by the legislature’s addition of a district judge position to the Eighteenth Judicial District this past legislative session.

“Andrew Breuner is a talented attorney who will make an exceptional judge in the Eighteenth Judicial District,” Gov. Gianforte said in a press release. “He is committed to the fair, consistent, and objective application of the law, and I’m confident he’ll serve Gallatin County well by interpreting laws, not making them from the bench.”

Since 2015, Breuner has served as city judge for the Belgrade City Court of Record and before that worked in private practice in Gallatin County for 15 years. He has also been an adjunct professor at Montana State University since 2019.

Breuner, one of four applicants for the job, earned his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1993. He also attended high school and undergrad in California.

Since moving here in 2002, Breuner said in his application that he has served on the boards of the Petra Academy and Love in the Name of Christ, two organizations heavily tied to Gianforte and the Gianforte Family Foundation.

Gianforte has served as the chair and his foundation has donated more than $10 million to Petra Academy, a religious private school in Bozeman. The foundation has also donated around $3 million to Love In the Name of Christ, a national organization with local chapters that bring churches together for community service work.

The governor’s office did not respond to an email asking if Breuner’s involvement on the board’s swayed his decision.

Breuner will be the third judge appointed by Gianforte under a new process established during the last legislative session that abolished the Judicial Nominating Commission and gave the governor the power to select appointees directly.  

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.