Viewing Douglas A. Hedin, "Judge Levi M. Vilas (1844-1889)."
In early February 1889 the 26th Legislature authorized two additional judgeships for the Second Judicial District. To fill the new posts Governor William R. Merriam turned to the Ramsey County Bar Associations for recommendations. On February 10, 1889 it met and after a short discussion--it could not be called a debate--voted to recommend Colonel Charles Deal Kerr, a Republican, and Levi Madison Vilas, a Democrat, who was a recent transplant from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Realizing that the Governor wanted more than two names, it also endorsed Republican Walter H. Sanborn and Democrat James J. Egan. On February 14, the Governor appointed Kerr and Vilas to the district court.