Snyder names Brian Zahra to state Supreme Court

On January 10, 2011, in Newsroom, by bobyoung

By Dawson Bell / Detroit Free Press

Gov. Rick Snyder this morning appointed state Court of Appeals Judge Brian Zahra to replace Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, who will leave the court later this week to head up the state’s Department of Human Resources.

Zahra, 51, of Northville Township has served on the Michigan Court of Appeals since 1999, and before that was a Wayne County Circuit Court judge.

In making the announcement, Snyder said Zahra has 16 years of judicial experience and “razor-sharp intelligence, and will make an outstanding addition to the court.”

Zahra said he would “follow in the tradition of Justice Corrigan,” adhering to “the rule of law and respecting the principles of limited government laid out in our state and federal constitutions.”

Zahra will take his seat on the Supreme Court bench Friday when Corrigan leaves for DHS. The appointment cements a 4-3 majority of Republican-nominated justices on the court until 2012, when Zahra will have to run for election to fill the final two years of Corrigan’s term.

Zahra is considered a judicial conservative and describes himself as a “legal geek.” His name was included in speculation in political and legal circles about those being considered to fill the Corrigan vacancy. But some questioned whether his somewhat unconventional and entirely un-Irish name would make it more difficult for him to hold onto the seat in upcoming elections.

Snyder said this morning he had not considered the political implications of taking Corrigan off the bench and moving her into the administration. She was the best person for the job, he said, “We chose children over politics.”