Peter W. Huber, 1952-2021

The sad passing of a brilliant mind.


Peter Huber passed away last week. He was a brilliant thinker, incisive commentator, attorney, and prolific author. He clerked for then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing a young reader's biography of the latter. He was an incredibly impressive person.

In City Journal, Mark Mills writes:

Peter Huber, a long-time senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute, a founding partner in a successful Washington, D.C. law firm; a polymath and prolific author of a dozen consequential books and hundreds of essays and op-eds; influential analyst, intellectual powerhouse, and seer in matters from the role of science in the courts, to telecom competition and environmental regulation, as well as energy and health-care policy—all issues of as central importance now as when he first wrote about them—died on January 8 in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 68. . . .

It was in these City Journal pages some 14 years ago that Peter wrote "Germs and the City," about the historical, regulatory, and scientific architecture of pandemics. In that essay he warned that "one way or another, germs will contrive to horrify us again, in some very nasty way. A society's only real defense is to stay horrified, well ahead of the curve." And he correctly predicted that a cure, a vaccine, would come much faster using the "codes" in both genetic and computational machines, hence the title of the last book in his canon, The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law Is Undermining 21st Century Medicine (2013). . . .

A beautiful mind was taken from the world, but his ideas through the legacy of his words will continue to help illuminate our future. . . .

The Manhattan Institute, where Huber was a senior fellow, offers an additional remembrance, as does Kellogg Hansen, the elite law firm Huber co-founded.

On Twitter, Huber's former colleague Walter Olson offers this remembrance:

He will be missed.

[Post updated and formatting errors fixed.]

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  1. “In that essay he warned that “one way or another, germs will contrive to horrify us again, in some very nasty way. A society’s only real defense is to stay horrified, well ahead of the curve.”

    I am sorry about this loss. However, the devastating effects of this pandemic all came from the economic shutdown by the Democrat Governors to reverse the economic achievements of Pres. Trump. They will result in massive deaths of despair in the US and in the starvation of 100 million poor people around the world. Most of the excess deaths of 202 came form the shutdown. People with heart disease and with cancer could not get outpatient medical care. COVID is the flu. It is not ebola. He missed that.

    1. I am really tired of otherwise-intelligent writers blaming this mess on the pandemic when it is so clearly the politicians who have thrown people out of work, shut down businesses, bowed to teachers unions to deprive children of their education, and murdered thousands through their ineptitude.

      1. Those intelligent people have a partisan agenda, making them evil mass murderers, not misinformed. No American may ever criticize the German people of the 1930’s. We are all Good Germans, now.

        1. Behar’s bole only comes in hyper.

      2. Don’t be such a goofball. The vast majority of measures officials are engaging in are quite reasonable, scientifically sound attempts to stop the spread of a dangerous pandemic. That’s why officials all over the world in a myriad of different countries and regimes are doing remarkably similar things.

        1. What a good German you are. Your ilk destroyed $4 trillion in the world GDP, and killed 100 million poor people by starvation. Yet, the places with the strictest lockdowns had the worst spreads. The quarantine laws permit the confinement of infected people, not non-infected people. That is epidemiology from the 14th Century.

          Your stinking leftist quackery is the biggest mistake in human history.

          1. Again, every thing you just wrote is wrong. The hyperbole is a nice plus though.

            1. Stupid ipse dixits are not arguments.

              1. Queenie, you cannot be a lawyer. We have no dispute. I respect your opinion. Have a blessed day.

  2. He sounds like a great fellow, too bad I hadn’t heard about him before he passed – my loss.

  3. Very sorry to hear about this. I knew Peter a little, years ago; I worked at his firm (Kellogg, Huber, & Hanson) when I was in law school, and I think he put in a good word or two for me when I was applying for a clerkship with RBG (for whom he had clerked several years earlier). Like most people, I was stunned by his brilliance – he was one of the four or five people I’ve known during my life who seemed always to be not merely one step ahead of you in thinking through a problem, but four or five or a dozen steps ahead. Quite amazing. And a soft-spoken and decent guy, to boot. I had lost touch with him in recent years, and sorry to hear of his passing. RIP.

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