BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Wheat plans to retire on Dec. 31.

The 69-year-old justice tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle ( ) that it's time for him to start a new chapter in his life.

He submitted a resignation letter to Chief Justice Mike McGrath earlier this week.

Wheat has five years remaining in his eight-year term.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock will appoint a replacement from a group of candidates to be nominated by the Montana Judicial Nomination Commission.

Wheat was appointed in 2010 to replace retired Justice John Warner.

He was re-elected in 2014.

Wheat, a Bozeman resident, spent 30 years as a partner in a private law practice and served two terms as a Democratic legislator.


This story has been updated to correct Wheat's age to 69.


Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle,