For the ethnomusicologist, see Theodore Levin (ethnomusicologist).

Theodore Levin (February 18, 1897 – December 31, 1970) was a prominent immigration lawyer and United States federal judge who served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 1946 until his death in 1970.[1]

Early life and career

Levin was born in Chicago, Illinois, though his family lived in London, Ontario Canada, from 1905 to 1913. After that, Joseph and Ida Levin brought their eight children back to the United States and settled in Detroit, Michigan. Levin received a LL.B. from University of Detroit School of Law in 1920, and an LL.M. from the same institution in 1924. He was in private practice of law with his brother Saul in Detroit from 1920 to 1946.

In the 1930s, Levin was part of a group of immigration lawyers who opposed the Michigan Alien Registration and Fingerprinting Act. He was a member of the executive board of the National Refugees Service Administration and an officer of the Michigan Commission on Displaced Persons.

In 1933, Levin was appointed special assistant attorney general in an investigation into the Michigan Bank Holiday and from 1944 to 1946, he served as a member of the Selective Service Appeal Board.

Federal judicial service

On July 3, 1946, Levin was nominated by President Harry S. Truman to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan vacated by Edward Julien Moinet. Levin was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 25, 1946, and received his commission on July 27, 1946. He served as chief judge of the court from 1959 to 1967, and thereafter served until his death.

During his tenure as a federal judge, Levin advocated the creation of the Sentencing Council, which proposed reforms and standards for criminal sentences imposed in federal courts. This sentencing council was widely copied in other US District Courts. In 1995, the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in Detroit was named in his memory.

He was affiliated with the Jewish Welfare Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the United Jewish Charities of Detroit, the Jewish Social Service Bureau, the Resettlement Service, the Detroit Round Table of Catholics, Jews and Protestants, and, the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry.[2]

Personal life

Levin was married to Rhoda Katzin of Chicago. Their son Charles Levin served as a Michigan Supreme Court justice from 1973 to 1996. Another son, Joseph Levin, was a candidate for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1974, and a third son, Daniel Levin, is a real estate developer in Chicago. His daughter Mimi Levin Lieber served on the New York State Board of Regents. His nephew Carl Levin is a former U.S. senator and his nephew Sander Levin is a U.S. representative in Michigan's 12th District.[3]


  1. ^ "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges-Theodore Levin". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "History of the Sixth Circuit: Theodore Levin 1897-1970". Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ Philip Mason (October 1995). "He Served with Distinction, Courage and Dignity". The Court Legacy. Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.  Missing or empty |url= (help)