The majority of cases before the Montana Supreme Court are decided based upon the written briefs submitted by the parties. However, the Court may decide that a case requires further discussion, in addition to what the parties have argued in their written briefs. In such cases, oral arguments are scheduled in open session before the Court. Approximately 15 cases a year are scheduled for oral argument.

Oral arguments are tightly structured and timed. The counsel for each party is allowed limited time to make an argument. The times typically range from 20 to 40 minutes and are set forth by the Court in the order setting oral argument. 

While this format allows the counsel brief opportunity to further develop their arguments, it also gives the Court an opportunity to ask questions of the attorneys on points which the Court needs clarification.

A majority of oral arguments take place in the Montana Supreme Court Courtroom, located at 215 N. Sanders, Helena, Montana. The Court does schedule a few arguments to be heard in different cities around the State. See the list of scheduled oral arguments below.

All oral arguments are open to the public.  

Click here to see list of previous oral arguments 



DA 22-0406

MONTANA TROUT UNLIMITED, MONTANA ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION CENTER, TROUT UNLIMITED, EARTHWORKS, and AMERICAN RIVERS, Plaintiffs and Appellees, v. MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY and TINTINA MONTANA INC., Defendants and Appellants, and STATE OF MONTANA, by and through THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, and MEAGHER COUNTY AND BROADWATER COUNTY, Defendants-Intervenors and Appellants. Oral Argument is set for Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in the courtroom of the Montana Supreme Court, Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building, Helena, Montana.

Live-streamed through the Court’s website at

Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana Environmental Information Center, Trout Unlimited, Earthworks, and American Rivers (Conservation Groups) challenged a permit the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued to Tintina Montana Inc., which proposes to construct and operate the Black Butte Copper Mine along Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Smith River.

The Conservation Groups alleged that DEQ violated numerous requirements of the Montana Metal Mine Reclamation Act, the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), and the Montana Code Annotated in issuing the permits.

The Meagher County District Court agreed with the Conservation Groups, ruling that DEQ’s decision to permit the mine was unlawful. The court concluded that Tintina failed to meet the necessary standards for its proposed tailing storage facilities, DEQ failed to fulfill the MEPA’s environmental review requirements and failed to consider alternate proposals that could have alleviated some of the concerns raised, and by issuing the permit without complying with the applicable statutes and regulations, DEQ failed to protect Montanans’ constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

DEQ and Tintina have appealed to the Montana Supreme Court. Meagher County and Broadwater County have intervened and also appeal the District Court’s decision.