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|Subject: Robert E. Hudec, 68, Expert on Global Trade Law|
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Date Posted: March 31, 2003 8:17:45 EDT
Robert E. Hudec, a professor who broadened the study of laws governing international trade to embrace matters of diplomacy and politics, died on March 12 while vacationing in North Captiva Island, Fla. He was 68.
The cause was coronary heart disease, according to an announcement by Tufts University, where Professor Hudec had taught since 2000. He lived in Newton, Mass.
Along with John H. Jackson, who directs the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University, Professor Hudec "was simply one of the founders of international trade law as a discipline that was a subject of scholarly research and teaching at major universities," said Robert L. Howse, a law professor at the University of Michigan.
"He developed an approach that neither reduced international trade law to economic policy nor made the law into a kind of formal structure impermeable to politics and diplomacy," Professor Howse said. "He gave both legalism and diplomacy their due."
According to Professor Hudec's philosophy, a legal institution governing international trade would have to be sensitive to political and diplomatic considerations — even allowing them to supersede its authority in some circumstances — to avoid becoming so inflexible as to render itself harmful or irrelevant.
This belief, combined with his legal expertise, led Professor Hudec to become a participant in, and critic of, the dispute-settlement processes of the World Trade Organization and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Robert Emil Hudec was born in Cleveland and raised nearby in North Olmsted, Ohio. Though his parents, who had immigrated from Slovakia, were unsure of the value of a college education, a high school guidance counselor persuaded him to apply. He was accepted at Kenyon College, where he met Marianne Miller, a student at nearby Denison College, on a blind date. They were married in 1956.
Professor Hudec began as a chemistry major but broke so much glassware in the laboratory that he could not afford to continue. He graduated summa cum laude in political science and moved to England, were he studied at Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar.
After serving as editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal while earning a law degree, he became a clerk for Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court from 1961 to 1963.
After a short stint at the predecessor of the United States trade representative's office and several years as a professor at Yale, Mr. Hudec taught law for 28 years at the University of Minnesota and then joined Tufts.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Katharine Wright Hudec, of West Newton, Mass.; a son, Michael Robert, of Austin, Tex.; and five grandchildren.
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