Justice Brian K. Zahra was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Supreme Court on January 14, 2011. The people of Michigan subsequently elected him in November 2012 to a partial term and then re-elected him in November 2014 to a full term.
Justice Zahra received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from Wayne State University. To finance his education, he opened and operated a small health and personal care retail store in downtown Detroit. Justice Zahra later opened a grocery outlet, also in Detroit, with two partners. In 1987, he graduated with honors from the University Of Detroit School Of Law, where he served as a member of the Law Review and as Articles Editor of the State Bar of Michigan’s Corporation and Finance Business Law Journal. Upon graduation he served as law clerk to Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan before joining and eventually becoming a partner in the law firm of Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman. In 1994, Governor John Engler appointed him to the Wayne County Circuit Court where in 1996 he was elected to a six-year term. In December of 1998, he was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Governor Engler. He was elected to six-year terms in 2000 and 2006. From December 2005 to January 2007, he served as the Court of Appeals’ Chief Judge Pro Tem.
Justice Zahra has served on many professional and legislative committees, including the Michigan Civil Jury Instructions Committee, the Circuit Court Appellate Rules Committee, the Domestic Violence Legislation Implementation Task Force, and the advisory committee for the Michigan Judicial Institute Domestic Violence Benchbook. Justice Zahra also served on the Michigan Board of Law Examiners, which drafts and grades the examination that law school graduates must pass in order to become licensed attorneys. He is currently a Senior Fellow of Law and Public Policy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, as well as a Distinguished Fellow at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI. He previously served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School.
Justice Zahra has been active in many civic and charitable organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Kiwanis Club International, Leadership Detroit, the Knights of Columbus, the Maltese American Community Club, and the Maltese American Benevolent Society, of which he is a past officer. He is a former board member and officer of the Catholic Lawyers Society, and past officer of the Federalist Society, where he currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board to the Michigan chapter.
Justice Zahra resides in Northville Township with his wife, Suzanne, and their two children.