Brian Morris (judge)
Brian Matthew Morris
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana|
|Assumed office |
March 19, 2020
|Preceded by||Dana L. Christensen|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana|
|Assumed office |
December 17, 2013
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Sam E. Haddon|
|Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court|
January 2, 2005 – December 17, 2013
|Preceded by||Jim Regnier|
|Succeeded by||Jim Shea|
Brian Matthew Morris
September 5, 1963
|Education||Stanford University (B.A., M.A., J.D.)|
Brian Matthew Morris (born September 5, 1963) is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana. He is a former Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, having been elected to Court by the voters of Montana in 2004. Morris successfully retained his position in the 2012 election. He is also a former fullback for the Stanford Cardinal football team.
Education and athletic career
Born in Butte, Montana, to John and Joan Morris, Brian Morris graduated from Butte Central Catholic High School, where he was an All-State athlete, who competed in football, track, and basketball. As a senior in the 1981–1982 academic year, he led the football team to the 1981 state championship game and set school records by rushing 1,640 yards and making 236 carries for 1,732 total yards. In track, he was the 1982 state champion in both intermediate and high hurdles in the high school's first state championship in track.
Earning a scholarship to Stanford University, Morris was a four-year letterman on the Stanford Cardinal football team and was the team's starting fullback in the 1986 Gator Bowl. In the Gator Bowl, Morris made 3 carries for 12 rushing yards and made 3 receptions for 6 yards. In his junior and senior years, he was honorable mention all-Pacific-10 Conference and first team all-academic Pac-10. With 12 pass receptions against UCLA in 1985, Morris is one of the Cardinal's all-time single-game pass reception leaders. Morris earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1986 and his Master of Arts in 1987. As one of only eight students in the United States to earn the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship, Morris earned his Juris Doctor with distinction from Stanford Law School in 1992.
Legal and judicial career
After completing his law degree, Morris served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Completing his clerkship with Noonan, Morris then served as a law clerk to Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist. As a former clerk for Chief Justice Rehnquist, Morris is the only member of the Montana State Bar to have served as a Supreme Court law clerk.
In 1995, he joined the Iran – United States Claims Tribunal at the World Court, The Hague, Netherlands, to serve as a legal assistant. Returning to Montana, Morris served as an attorney in private practice in Bozeman from 1995 until 1999. He went on to serve as a legal officer at the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.
Notable state court decisions
In 2009, Morris wrote the 6–1 decision in Kulstad v. Maniaci, in which the Court ruled in favor of a woman's right to joint custody rights of two children adopted by her same-sex partner during their relationship.
Federal judicial service
On March 11, 2013, Senator Max Baucus announced that he would recommend that President Obama nominate Morris to fill the vacancy on the United States District Court for the District of Montana caused by Judge Sam Haddon taking senior status, the vacant seat being located in Great Falls. The recommendation was made after a number of candidates were considered by a nine-member Judicial Nominating Commission appointed by Senator Baucus and Senator Jon Tester. On May 23, 2013, President Obama formally nominated Morris to the judgeship. His nomination was reported to the floor by the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on September 19, 2013. Cloture was voted on and agreed to on December 12, 2013 by a vote of 57–40. He was confirmed by the United States Senate in a vote of 75–20 later that same day. He received his judicial commission on December 17, 2013. He became Chief Judge on March 19, 2020.
In July 2019 Morris issued an order overturning a rule issued by the Internal Revenue Service that allowed 501(c)(4) "social-welfare" organizations to shield the identities of their political donors.
- "Justice Brian Morris". Courts of Montana. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- "Justice Brian Morris (MT)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- "Elections" (PDF). Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Gerard O'Brien (June 6, 2009). "From star athlete to Supreme Court justice: Brian Morris, Class of '82". The Montana Standard.
- "Morris, Brian Matthew – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Stanford 2010 Football Media Guide. Stanford Athletics Department. p. 188.
- Stanford 2010 Football Media Guide. Stanford Athletics Department. p. 171.
- Stanford 2010 Football Media Guide. Stanford Athletics Department. p. 117.
- "Law School graduates appointed to judicial clerkships" (Press release). Stanford University. December 15, 1993.
- Stanford 2010 Football Media Guide. Stanford Athletics Department. p. 155.
- Morris, Brian (April 2006). "For the Chief" (PDF). Stanford Law Review. 58 (6): 1684–1685. ISSN 0038-9765. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-01-12.
- Mike Dennison (October 6, 2009). "Supreme Court affirms former same-sex partner's rights as parent". Billings Gazette.
- Michelle Kulstad v. Barbara L. Maniaci, 2009 MT 326; 352 Mont. 513; 220 P.3d 595 (Kulstad I).
- "Court finds no violation of inmate's rights" (PDF). Correctional Signpost (1). Montana Department of Corrections. 2011. pp. 6–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-01.
- Colton Wilson v. State of Montana, 2010 MT 278.
- Johnson, Clair. "2 for federal judgeships announced".
- "President Obama Nominates Three to Serve as District Court Judges". 23 May 2013.
- Puckett, Karl (2018-11-08). "Judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- Davison, Laura (2019-07-31). "Judge Overturns IRS Rule to Shield Political Donor Identities". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- Brian Morris at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Brian Morris at Ballotpedia
| Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court
Sam E. Haddon
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana
Dana L. Christensen
| Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana|