February 20, 2014 at 1:00 am

Conservative Supreme Court justices plan to run again

Lansing — State Supreme Court Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano, appointees of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, made formal their plans to seek re-election in a joint announcement on Thursday.

They are part of a 5-2 conservative majority on the state’s highest court, which will have three seats up for election in November. Justice Michael Cavanagh, one of two Democrat-nominated members of the court, can’t seek re-election when his term ends this year because he’s more than 70 years old.

Zahra, appointed by Snyder in January 2011 to an unexpired term, won re-election in 2012 and now is running for his first full eight-year term. Viviano is running for the two years remaining in the term to which he was appointed by Snyder in February 2013.

The Michigan Supreme Court reviews more than 2,000 cases a year, said Zahra, adding in a statement that it’s “vitally important to maintain a rule of law court to determine what the law is, not what it should be.”

Zahra served 12 years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and four years on Wayne County Circuit Court before his appointment to the high court. Viviano previously was chief judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit and Macomb County Probate courts; he was elected in 2006 to the circuit court.

Farmington Hills attorney Richard Bernstein, a former member of the Wayne State University board, has been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for the state Supreme Court. He is with The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.

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