The Michigan Supreme Court elected Robert Young Jr. on Wednesday as its new chief justice.
He replaces Justice Marilyn Kelly as the top judge on the seven-member court. Kelly now is one of three Democrats in the court’s minority.
The justices made their selection during a private meeting. No official vote was released, but the court now has four Republicans.
The 59-year-old Young was re-elected in November to an eight-year term. He’s a conservative Republican from the Detroit area who was appointed to the court in 1999 and first elected in 2002.
Among his top priorities will be reducing the number of judgeships statewide and encouraging court consolidation to save money.
“Budget cutting alone will not be enough,” Young said in a release. “There is room for meaningful change and improvement in the third branch of government, even as we do our part to address the state’s budget crisis.”
Young is a “judicial conservative”. According to his campaign website, he “believes that judges should apply the Constitution and laws as written and that judges have no authority to impose their policy preferences on those that the People have written into their Constitution or their elected representatives have enacted into law.” Young graduated in 1974 from Harvard College with honors and from Harvard Law School in 1977.
Republican Justice Maura Corrigan is expected to resign soon to lead the Department of Human Services under the new governor, Republican Rick Snyder, who will name her replacement.
Associated Press contributed to this report.