Carl Levin, a liberal Michigan Democrat who served 36 years in the Senate and scared the wits out of America’s biggest C.E.O.s by demanding explanations for shadowy schemes that hid billions in profits overseas and avoided vast corporate taxes at home, died on Thursday July 29 2021 in Detroit. He was 87.
He was the most prominent member of a Michigan family that embraced public service. His brother, Sander Levin, a former United States representative, was the chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and had a congressional career of more than three decades that almost paralleled Carl’s. Other relatives were federal and state judges or held other elective or appointive offices. A nephew, Andy Levin, serves in the House as a Democrat representing a district north of Detroit.
His father was a lawyer and member of Michigan’s Correction Commission, which ran state prisons. Carl graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1952, from Swarthmore College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and from Harvard Law School in 1959.
He married Barbara Halpern in 1961. They had three daughters, Kate, Laura and Erica. He is survived by his wife, daughters, brother and six grandchildren. Mr. Levin lived in Detroit all his life.
(brother of Sander Martin Levin), a Senator from Michigan; born in Detroit, Wayne County, Mich., June 28, 1934; attended Detroit public schools; graduated, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa., 1956; graduated, Harvard Law School 1959; admitted to the Michigan bar in 1959 and commenced practice in Detroit; assistant attorney general and general counsel for the Michigan civil rights commission 1964-1967; special assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan and chief appellate defender for the city of Detroit 1968-1969; member, Detroit city council 1969-1973; president, Detroit city council 1974-1977; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1978 for the term commencing January 3, 1979; reelected in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002, and again in 2008 for the term ending January 3, 2015; chair, Committee on Armed Services (One Hundred Seventh Congress [January 3-20, 2001; June 6, 2001-January 3, 2003]; One Hundred Tenth to One Hundred Thirteenth Congresses).