Carl Levin, Long-Serving Michigan Senator, Dies at 87
While he had no military experience, Senator Levin served for 10 years – from 2001 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2015 – as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a platform from which he exercised a major influence on military credits and defense policies.
He denounced the wasteful and corrupt practices of military contractors, voted to close bases, lobbied for less secrecy in the government and helped lift the ban on gay men in the military. He argued that military commanders, not civilian officials, should retain authority over cases of sexual assault in the armed forces, arguing that this would provide better protection for victims.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks, he voted to give President George W. Bush the power to prosecute perpetrators. But he has become critical of the US fighting in Afghanistan and was one of the earliest opponents of the Iraq war, expressing skepticism over the administration’s claim that President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons. of mass destruction. He praised President Barack Obama’s decision in 2011 to withdraw US troops from Iraq.
Carl Milton Levin was born in Detroit on June 28, 1934, one of three children of Saul Levin and ex-Bess Levinson. Her father was a lawyer and a member of the Michigan Corrections Commission, which ran state prisons. Public affairs dominated the dinner conversations, with the father asking Carl, his brother and sister, Hannah, for opinions on capital punishment, the mayor’s rulings and other topics.
Carl graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1952, Swarthmore College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and 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.
After five years of practicing law in Detroit, he became Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1964 to 1967. He helped establish the Detroit Public Defender’s Office and, in 1968-69, was its main advocate on appeal. He served two terms on Detroit City Council from 1969 to 1977, the last four years as president. He also became a close associate of Coleman Young, a Democrat who in 1974 became the first African-American mayor of Detroit.
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