Bench Memos

Good News for the Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan governor Rick Snyder today announced that he will appoint Judge Brian Zahra to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court created by Justice Maura Corrigan’s resignation to become director of Michigan’s Department of Human Services. He has big shoes to fill. 

As this Federalist Society white paper details, Justice Corrigan was a member of the Court’s “Big Four,” an exceptionally intelligent and thoughtful majority that charted a judicially conservative course on issues like constitutional and statutory interpretation, standing, and contracts. 

But conservative court watchers in Michigan believe Justice Zahra will be an excellent addition to the court, and that he will continue Justice Corrigan’s legacy by applying the text and original meaning of the law instead of his political preferences. He is a long-time Federalist Society member who, according to Chief Justice Bob Young, “is widely recognized as one of the state’s top jurists.”  Zahra has been a judge since 1994, but one of his most high-profile rulings came in 2007, when he joined a unanimous court of appeals panel in concluding that Michigan’s gay-marriage ban also prohibited state and local governments from providing benefits to the partners of gay employees. 

Congratulations to Governor Snyder and his team for taking judicial appointments seriously, good luck to Justice Zahra in his new post, and thank you to Justice Corrigan for her excellent service on the Court.


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