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Justice O'Connor to Hear Ninth Circuit Arguments in MT, Sept. 1

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 30, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The University of Montana School of Law will celebrate its centennial anniversary this week with a judicially star-studded event.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will sit with judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments in a special session at the University of Montana Law School in Missoula, Mont. on September 1, 2011.

Justice O’Connor will join Ninth Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Sidney Thomas to hear oral arguments in appeals of decisions by the Montana U.S. District Court in the following cases:

  • United States v. W. Bear, United States v. A. Bear, in which Wallene Mary Bear and her niece, Amber Bear, appeal the denial of motions to suppress evidence, after which they entered into conditional guilty pleas to charges related to distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Blair v. The Schwan Food Company, in which the company appeals a district court judgment in favor of a former employee, Steven Blair, who alleged a wrongful discharge in violation of the Montana Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act. Blair was fired for using a “lumper,” a non-employee helper paid in cash, to unload a truck.
  • Gallatin County v. U.S. District Court, in which Gallatin County seeks a writ of mandamus to compel the district court to reinstate certain state law claims arising out of the death of a pretrial detainee while in custody of the county.

Justice O’Connor has sat by designation with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals several times since her 2005 retirement, including a previous session last year in Billings, Montana. The Ninth Circuit arguments in the above-listed matters will begin at 10 a.m. on September 1 in the University Theatre. A photo ID will be required to enter the courtroom.

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