Billings state District Judge Ingrid Gustafson

HELENA – State District Judge Ingrid Gustafson of Billings will be the newest justice on the Montana Supreme Court, appointed Thursday by Gov. Steve Bullock to fill a vacancy created by retiring Justice Mike Wheat.

Bullock announced his appointment Thursday afternoon, choosing Gustafson over two other finalists, Helena attorney Mike Lamb and state Water Court Judge Russell McElyea of Bozeman.

Gustafson will take her seat on the seven-member court in January.

Gustafson, first appointed to state bench by Gov. Judy Martz, will become the third women on the court, joining justices Beth Baker and Laurie McKinnon.