Unusual move by judge allows Snyder to pick replacement

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan appeals court judge is resigning four hours before his term expires on Jan. 1, allowing Gov. Rick Snyder to pick a replacement.

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.

Snyder says he’s appointing Capitol lawyer Brock Swartzle to the appeals court. Swartzle is chief of staff and general counsel for the House of Representatives.

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