Another segment of state law entitles each party in a civil action one substitution without a specific cause, which the state had already used in this case.
The notice from the district court was called a “notice of judge substitution” but also refences the filing of an “order of disqualification.” It wasn’t clear Wednesday if Todd, who is retiring at the end of the year, voluntarily stepped aside.
The move came after Dewhirst filed a motion seeking to disqualify Todd, citing comments the judge made during a hearing Sept. 23. Dewhirst’s request references disqualification when a judge “has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer.”
“Judge Todd revealed his displeasure and disagreement with the state, the Attorney General and his clients, and other executive branch officials regarding a separate and complex political and legal dispute between Montana’s judiciary, the Legislature and the executive branch—a dispute in which…