Former Michigan Supreme Court justice Charles Levin dies at 94

Posted at 8:25 AM, Nov 20, 2020

Charles Levin, a retired Michigan Supreme Court justice who served for 24 years, died Thursday at age 94, his family said.

Levin came from a venerable Detroit family steeped in public service. His father, Theodore, was a federal judge whose name is on the downtown courthouse. Cousins include retired U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.

“Justice Levin’s legacy is marked by great scholarship, independence, compassion and courage,” Michigan Chief Justice Bridget McCormack said. “He started his own party in order to run for the Supreme Court, a courageous act of independence that is a model for us all.”

Indeed, Levin created his own independent party to get on the 1972 ballot instead of being nominated by the dominant political parties. He won and was reelected in 1980 and 1988.

Levin also served six years on the Michigan Court of Appeals. His portrait was unveiled in 1999, two years after retirement.

At that ceremony, James Ryan recalled how Levin discussed cases with other justices.

"He brought a willingness to explore the unexplored and a calm, even serene acceptance of deep division when that was inevitable," said Ryan, a colleague on the Supreme Court.