LANSING (DETROIT FREE PRESS)- Macomb County Circuit Court Judge David Viviano will become the next state Supreme Court justice, replacing ex-Justice Diane Hathaway who resigned in January amidst a scandal over a short sale of her Grosse Pointe Park home.
Viviano, 41, was elected to the Macomb County Circuit Court in 2006 and serves as its chief judge. Before becoming a judge, he worked at the Dickinson Wright law firm in Detroit and prior to that at the Jenner & Block law firm in Chicago. He also was the city attorney for Center Line.
"Judge Viviano has a distinguished record of judicial integrity and innovation," Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement released by his office. "His deep respect for the judicial branch of government and his commitment to the rule of law will serve Michigan well. I have every confidence that he will be a compassionate, principled justice. He is an outstanding addition to the Michigan Supreme Court."
This is Snyder's second appointment to the state High Court. In 2011, Snyder replaced former Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, who left to become Snyder's director of the Department of Human Services, with Brian Zahra, a former Wayne County Circuit and Michigan Court of Appeals judge.
The justice Viviano replaces, Hathaway, pleaded guilty last month to federal bank fraud charges in connection with the short sale and is expected to be sentenced on May 28.
Viviano, who worked on several judicial inititatives, including jury reform and an e-filing pilot project in Macomb, said he was grateful for the confidence Snyder showed in choosing him.
"It is a tremendous responsibility and one that I cherish," Viviano said. "I look forward to working with my esteemed Supreme Court colleagues to provide the thoughtful, impartial justice that citizens deserve."
He graduated from Hillsdale College and the University of Michigan law school. The law runs in his family: his sister is a Macomb Family Division Judge, Kathryn Viviano; and his father, Antonio Viviano, was a Macomb County Probate and Circuit Judge until 2010. David Viviano and his wife, Neran Viviano, have two children.
Viviano will have to run for re-election in 2014. The appointment is solely up to Snyder and does not require confirmation from the Legislature.