Last updated November 10, 2020
“A must-read for all lawyers and judges but also for any citizen seeking
to understand our state’s history and the interworkings and interrelationships
of the governments which serve us.”
–Judge James Robert Redford, Michigan Court of Appeals
A Lincoln Legacy: The History of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan by David Gardner Chardavoyne with Hugh W. Brenneman, Jr. provides the first and only comprehensive examination of the history of the United States federal courts in the Western District of Michigan. The federal courts were established by the U.S. Constitution to adjudicate disputes involving federal laws, disputes between litigants from different states involving state and federal laws, and to punish violations of criminal laws passed by Congress. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating two federal districts in the state of Michigan: the Eastern and Western Districts-the latter of which is headquartered in Grand Rapids and which now encompasses the western half of the Lower Peninsula and all of the Upper Peninsula. With the rapid expansion of legislation passed by Congress, the increasing mobility of society, and the growth of interstate commerce, the federal courts have assumed an important and sometimes dominant role in major litigation today.
David Gardner Chardavoyne is a veteran Michigan lawyer and a legal educator who teaches as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School. He is the author of The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Wayne State University Press, 2012) and a frequent contributor to The Court Legacy, the journal of the Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Hugh W. Brenneman, Jr. is a retired United States Magistrate Judge for the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, having served for thirty-five years on that court. He is presently the Court Historian. He is a graduate of Alma College and the University of Michigan Law School, and lives with his wife in West Michigan.