It's no shocker that Governor Schweitzer picked former senator Mike Wheat to replace Justice John Warner on the Montana Supreme Court. He has a lot of legal experience, he has already run once for statewide office, he is a plaintiff's attorney that will have the backing of the Montana Trial Lawyer's Association, and he has money to self-fund his campaign. Without a doubt, being a former Democratic lawmaker helped him too.
Question: Will this appointment add fuel to the fire the Montana Republican Party started over the Governor and other Democratic executives picking Democratic legislators to fill positions? In this case Wheat is a former lawmaker, but the cronyism accusations may still fly. According to the dictionary, cronyism is "partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications."
In this case, I don't think anyone can make a case that Wheat is unqualified - in fact, I believe all three selected by the judicial nomination committee had ample backgrounds.
Any thoughts on this? Discuss....