Gavel Grab

Report: MI Justice Favored Appointing Judges

A new appointee to the Michigan Supreme Court, Brian Zahra, is reported by a newspaper blog to have made past statements in support of judicial appointments over elections.

According to the Editorial blog of the Detroit Free Press, Zahra completed endorsement questionnaires in 2004 and 2006 when he was running for the state Supreme Court and for a new term on the Michigan Court of Appeals, respectively.

Zahra voiced support for judicial appointments, the blog reported, and he wrote, “Unlike legislators, judges do not represent the interests of their constituents.”

Zahra said, “Rather, judges represent the interests of justice, as dictated by the rule of law. At times, these interests fly in the face of popular opinion. Our judicial system is irreparably harmed when a judge is influenced by popular opinion over the rule of law.”

Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, recently named Zahra to a vacancy on the high court bench. He has been portrayed as a judicial conservative.

Michigan has experienced bruising state Supreme Court election battles. In 2008, the Justice at Stake Campaign described an election race there as the “dirtiest” of state supreme contests across the country.

Meanwhile a Toledo Blade column by Jack Lessenberry about Michigan’s high court assailed what its headline labeled partisanship “corroding” that bench.

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