LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Snyder will name a new justice to the Michigan Supreme Court on Monday, a rare opportunity to put his stamp on the state's highest court just a week after he took office.
The governor will announce his replacement for Justice Maura Corrigan at a Monday morning news conference, spokeswoman Geralyn Lasher said Sunday. Corrigan steps down Friday to become director of the state Department of Human Services and will join Snyder's six-person super-cabinet.
Lasher declined to say who will replace her.
Appeals Court Judge Jane Markey of Grand Rapids wants Snyder to name her to the court, noting she'd bring a west Michigan perspective that's lacking since all of the current justices are from southeast Michigan or the Lansing area. The 59-year-old Snyder supporter sent out an unusual press release late Saturday night asking for the appointment.
"Although Grand Rapids is the state's second largest city, no one from here has served since 1946. Nor has anyone from my hometown of Saginaw sat on the Supreme Court since 1927," Markey wrote. "My appointment would further the governor's goal to include and engage all Michiganders in reinventing Michigan."
Markey hoped to run for the high court in 2010, but Republicans instead nominated Wayne Circuit Court Judge Mary Beth Kelly, who beat Justice Alton Davis in November for a seat on the bench.
Snyder likely will choose an appeals court judge to elevate to the Supreme Court, but he has a wealth of GOP-nominated judges besides Markey in the pool.
Appeals Court Judge Brian Zahra of Northville may be highest on Snyder's list. He turned 51 Sunday and earned points among GOP activists for his willingness to run for the high court in 2004 even though two incumbents were running for the only two openings.
Zahra was appointed to the appeals court in 1999 by GOP Gov. John Engler and elected to the court in 2000 and 2006. He previously was a Wayne County Circuit Court judge from 1994-98 and an attorney and partner at the Dickinson Wright law firm from 1989-94.
The Supreme Court has a 4-3 Republican majority, and four of the seven justices currently are women. With Kelly's ascension to the court this month, Snyder may be under less pressure to name a woman to replace Corrigan, since three women will remain: Kelly and Democratic nominees Marilyn Kelly and Diane Hathaway.