He was one of Michigan's most celebrated advocates of civil liberties, well known for his breadth of knowledge on constitutional law and the role he played in writing Michigan's current constitution. He was directly responsible for the creation of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the freedom of expression provision in Michigan's Declaration of Rights.
Professor Norris received two major awards from the State Bar of Michigan: The Champion of Justice Award in 1988, and in 2011 the first ever John W. Reed Michigan Lawyer Legacy Award, for being an educator whose influence on lawyers elevated the quality of legal practice in Michigan. He received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Wayne State University for his outstanding contribution to the professions of teaching and the law. And he received the Distinguished Warrior Award from the Detroit Urban League for being a champion of civil liberties.
Professor Norris served as a statistical control officer in the United States Air Force during World War II. He earned his BA from the University of Michigan in 1939, his Masters Degree in Economics in 1941, and his law degree from Columbia University in 1948. He worked in private practice for 13 years before embarking on his teaching career at the Detroit College of Law, where he taught for 37 years.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances. Professor Norris is survived by his daughter Barbara Shawn, son Victor Norris, grandchildren Rebecca Krainig, Max Norris, and Jessica Norris, great-grandchildren Mitchell Krainig and Conner Krainig, cousins, nephews, nieces, and other family and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 17 at Ira Kaufman Chapel, 18325 W. Nine Mile Road in Southfield. Contributions may be made by check to the Harold Norris Endowment at Michigan State University College of Law online at www.law.msu.edu/donate or mailed to Law College Building, Room 400, 648 N. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824.
Posted by Samantha Meinke