What’s in a name? Maybe a seat on a Detroit-area court

DETROIT (AP) — A man seeking to become a judge could get a boost on Election Day after changing his last name to one that has long been associated with Detroit-area courts.

Nicholas John Bobak legally changed his name last year to Nicholas John Bobak Hathaway, the Detroit Free Press reported. He has been married since 2008 to Dana Hathaway, who has been a judge since 2013.

By blood or by marriage, at least 10 members of the Hathaway family have served as Wayne County judges over the last two decades, the newspaper said.

Dana Hathaway lost an election for Oakland County judge in 2010 but won two years later in Wayne County.

“I changed my name to honor my wife,” Nicholas Hathaway told the Free Press. “If I had a nickel for every time an attorney asked me, ‘Are you going to change your name and run for judge?’ I wouldn’t need a job.

“This is a decision we made within the bounds of our family and our marriage,” he said, declining further comment.

Mario Morrow, who has managed local campaigns, said the Hathaway name is “golden” in judicial races.

“The voters don’t know one Hathaway from the other,” he said.

Hathaway is among four candidates running for two seats on the court. They include someone with another well-known name: Mary Beth Kelly, a former Wayne County judge and former Michigan Supreme Court justice, is seeking to return to the local bench.

In 2013, Hathaway’s mother-in-law, Diane Hathaway, resigned from the Supreme Court and pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to a real estate deal.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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