Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles Levin dies at 94

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles L. Levin died Thursday at the age of 94.

Levin had been in hospice and died in his Detroit home, said David Techner, director of the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, which is handling arrangements for a private funeral.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles Levin sits on the bench as Dennis Archer is sworn in during a Jan. 7, 1986, ceremony in the court.

Levin was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1972 and continually re-elected until his retirement in 1997. In 1966, he was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals, where he served until his election to the state's highest court.

“The name ‘Levin’ in deeply embedded in Michigan’s history; the family is known for dedicated service to the people,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack said in a statement. “Justice Charles Levin certainly lived up to the name in his 30 years of service on the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

"Justice Levin’s legacy is marked by great scholarship, independence, compassion, and courage. 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. My colleagues mourn his passing and offer sincerest condolences to the Levin family.”

Two years after his retirement, Levin's portrait was unveiled in 1999.

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.

A University of Michigan Law School graduate, Levin was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1947.

He is the cousin of former Michigan U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and former U.S. Rep. Sander Levin. The federal courthouse in downtown Detroit is named for Charles Levin's father, Theodore Levin, who was chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Associated Press contributed.

(248) 338-0319