Gov. Snyder to appoint Capitol lawyer to expected appeals court vacancy

LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan appeals court judge is set to resign four hours before his term expires on Jan. 1.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s picked Brock Swartzle to fill the vacancy. Swartzle is chief of staff and general counsel for the state House of Representatives.

Critics say the seat held by Judge Donald Owens should be eliminated based on a 2012 law aimed at saving money by reducing the size of the appeals court.

But Snyder spokesman Ari Adler says the governor has the power to pick another judge because Owens is quitting before his term ends.

Adler says Owens is quitting at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, four hours before his term expires. He couldn’t run for re-election because of age limits.

Swartzle also was a lawyer in private practice and served as a clerk to two federal judges. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan and George Mason University law school. He must run in the 2018 election if he wants to keep the job.

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