Brian Zahra, a former Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC) endorsee and Michigan First District Court of Appeals Judge since 1998, was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by new governor Rick Snyder on Monday, Jan. 10.
The appointment of the Republican Zahra means that the party will have a 4-3 majority on the court over Democrats. Zahra will replace Democrat Maura Corrigan, who became the director of the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS), a position that opened up when Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services co-founder Ismael Ahmed took over as associate provost for integrated learning and community partnerships at the University of Michigan-Dearborn this month.
Snyder said that Zahra, who is of Maltese descent, is widely known as a leading conservative judge who recognizes his role as an interpreter rather than a "creator" of the law in a report in The Detroit News.
AAPAC endorsed him for numerous reasons including what it described as a shared set of common values and experiences with the Arab American community and other immigrants. Zahra was part of his family's first generation in America and English was spoken as a second language in his house growing up.
Zahra will have to run for re-election in 2012 against a Democratic candidate in a one-on-one matchup to determine who will maintain the seat until 2014. Two additional seats will be up for grabs in 2012 as well.