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Privacy is a legal issue, not a political one

by Ben Alke
| March 31, 2024 12:00 AM

Austin Knudsen continues to abuse his position as Montana’s attorney general to interfere with our constitutional rights and democracy.

The job of the attorney general is special. The attorney general must uphold the rights guaranteed by the Montana Constitution. The decisions made by the attorney general must be based on the facts and the law. There is simply no room for politics.

Article II, Section 9 of the Montana Constitution provides that the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed. Over 20 years ago, the Montana Supreme Court held that a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body is protected by the right to privacy. Article XIV, Section 9 of the Montana Constitution states that the people may propose constitutional initiatives that shall be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection.

Knudsen is abusing his position as attorney general to undermine the established right to privacy. He is also interfering with Montanans’ constitutional right to propose and vote on constitutional initiatives.

A ballot issue has been proposed that would expressly add a woman’s right to choose to the Montana Constitution, consistent with existing law. Knudsen is playing politics to prevent us from voting. First, he improperly claimed the proposed ballot language was legally insufficient (the Montana Supreme Court reversed that decision last week). Now, Knudsen is attempting to mislead voters with an improper ballot statement.

These are legal questions – not political questions. Whether a ballot issue ultimately succeeds must be determined by the voters of Montana, not a career politician who is abusing the office of the attorney general.

Montanans deserve better than an attorney general who abuses his position to interfere with our constitutional rights.

Ben Alke is a candidate for Montana attorney general.