HELENA, Mont. -

Gov. Steve Bullock has appointed Montana Workers' Compensation Court Judge Jim Shea to a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Bullock said in a statement Monday that Shea has a reputation of being a fair and intelligent judge and lawyer. He says Shea's understanding and respect for the state and federal constitutions make him well-suited for the Supreme Court.

The 48-year-old Shea has been on the workers' compensation court since 2005.

He will replace former Justice Brian Morris, who appointed at the end of last year to the U.S. District Court in Great Falls.

Bullock's office says Shea will be sworn in soon, but a date has not yet been set.

He must be confirmed by the Montana Senate next year and then elected by the voters in November 2016.