James A. Rice
James A. Rice (born November 15, 1957) is an American attorney, judge, and politician who is one of the five Associate Justices currently on the Montana Supreme Court. Rice won an unopposed retention vote in 2014; his current term will expire in 2022.
Rice was born to parents in the United States Military who were stationed at Ramore Air Force Base, near Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada. Rice grew up in eastern Montana, and graduated in 1975. He obtained his pilot's license at 17, and worked in aviation-related jobs while attending Montana State University. He graduated with a B.A. in political science in 1979, and then earned a J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 1982. Rice subsequently worked as a public defender in Lewis and Clark County for four years.
He was elected to three terms in the Montana House of Representatives, and served as House Majority Whip in the 1993 session. He became a partner in the law firm of Jackson & Rice in Helena, Montana, in 1985. On March 15, 2001, he was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court after appointment by Governor Judy Martz. In 2002, he won election to the remainder of the judicial term to which he was appointed. In 2006, he won an unopposed retention vote.