It seems like Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton just can’t stop embarrassing himself and the people who put him in office. His behavior at the trial over the Green Party’s position on the 2018 ballot has been so childish and unprofessional that Judge James Reynolds had to admonish him from the bench at the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing.
Multiple sources have reported that Stapleton and the attorneys arguing for the Greens to remain on the ballot have been engaged in unprofessional, childish conduct during the trial, talking over the judges hearing the case and arguing with the lawyers for the Montana Democratic Party while they are presenting their case. Stapleton’s commentary was so loud that it was even picked up by the court reporter during the first week of the trial.
During Thursday’s hearing, Stapleton was making audible snide comments to his attorney during the proceeding.
By the end of the day, Judge Reynolds had had enough and forcefully reminded the participants in court that they would behave professionally, with no laughter, cross-talk, or outburst being permitted in future hearings. Reynolds specifically called out Secretary of State Stapleton, saying that his he was included in the admonition and would not be permitted to engage the “disrespectful” behavior during the trial.
It’s been evident from the outset that Mr. Stapleton did not act as an impartial elections official in this case and has worked to advance the Green Party’s interests for the benefit of his party. No one is shocked by that, given how Stapleton has turned his office into a partisan engine of self-promotion. It is shocking, though, that an elected official who should represent us can’t conduct himself with a modicum of professionalism in a courtroom, no matter how excited he is to be, for a moment, the center of attention.
Do better, Mr. Stapleton. For better or worse, you represent us for another couple of years. Try to remember that when you feel the need for another outburst in court.