I was born and raised in Chicago and received my undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago. After graduation, I served two years as a law clerk to federal judges, including one with Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court. After a brief period in practice with a Chicago law firm, I accepted a position on the law faculty of the University of Minnesota, where I remained for five years, and then joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, on which I served for thirty-four years, nine as dean. For roughly the first decade of my academic career, I focused on problems of urban government and land use planning, but for the rest of my career concentrated my teaching and scholarship on constitutional law. I retired in 2000, which allowed me to return to an interest I developed in college, Greek tragedy and ancient Greek history.
While in law school, I married my high school sweetheart, Ina Davis, to whom I remained married for sixty-five years, until her death in late 2020. We had three children, all of whom live within three miles of Ingleside, which explains my move here from Ann Arbor. Over he years, Ina and I travelled widely, visiting every continent and approximately fifty countries. We shared many interests, including hiking and reading—and, of course, our wonderful children and grandchildren.