Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday he has appointed Oakland County Circuit Judge Colleen O’Brien to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Court of Appeals.

O’Brien, an unsuccessful Republican Party-nominated candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court in 2012 and among those speculated under consideration for an opening there now, fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Pat Donofrio.

She will have to stand for re-election next year to a full six-year term on the court.

“Colleen has served with distinction in one of the state’s largest trial courts for 16 years handling complex civil, criminal, and family law cases,” Snyder said in a statement.

“As the president of the Michigan Judges Association, she is an important leader in our state’s judiciary. Her personal integrity, widely respected legal acumen, and substantial judicial experience will be of great benefit to the Court of Appeals and the people of Michigan.”

On the Oakland Circuit Court since 1998, O’Brien was re-elected in 2010 to a third term that was supposed to last through 2017. She is presiding judge of the Oakland Civil-Criminal Division.

O’Brien previously was an attorney at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho in Southfield and with three other Detroit-area law firms. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and law degree from Detroit College of Law in 1981.

O’Brien is an adviser to Crossroads for Youth, a nonprofit treatment agency that serves at-risk children; a member of the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness; a former member of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Board of Directors; and former president of the Oakland County Women’s Bar Association.

She is married to Thomas J. Cory and has two children.

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