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James A. Rice (born November 15, 1957[1]) is an American attorney, judge, and politician. He is one of the six Associate Justices currently on the Montana Supreme Court. Rice won an unopposed retention vote in 2014; his current term will expire in 2022.

James A. Rice
Justice of the Montana Supreme Court
Assumed office
March 15, 2001
GovernorJudy Martz
Preceded byKarla M. Gray
Personal details
Born (1957-11-15) November 15, 1957 (age 61)
CFS Ramore, Ontario, Canada
EducationMontana State University, Bozeman (BA)
University of Montana School of Law (JD)

Rice was born to parents in the United States Military who were stationed at Ramore Air Force Base, near Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada.[1] Rice grew up in eastern Montana, and graduated in 1975.[1] He obtained his pilot's license at 17, and worked in aviation-related jobs while attending Montana State University.[1] He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1979, and then earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Montana School of Law in 1982.[1] Rice subsequently worked as a public defender in Lewis and Clark County for four years.[1]

He was elected to three terms in the Montana House of Representatives, and served as House Majority Whip in the 1993 session.[1] He became a partner in the law firm of Jackson & Rice in Helena, Montana, in 1985.[1] On March 15, 2001, he was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Montana Supreme Court[1] after appointment by Governor Judy Martz.[2] Rice filled the seat vacated by Karla M. Gray when she was elected Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, November 2000.[2] In 2002, Rice won election to the remainder of the judicial term to which he was appointed.[1] In 2006, he won an unopposed retention vote.[1] In 2014, he defeated W. David Herbert to win a third term.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k " > supreme > bios > rice". Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  2. ^ a b Billings, Erin P. (February 23, 2001). "Rice gets high court seat". Independent Record.
  3. ^

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Karla M. Gray
Justice of the Montana Supreme Court