Vermont’s Peter Hall, US court of appeals judge, dies at 72

Judge Peter Hall, the Vermont judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, died Thursday at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. He was 72.

Hall’s judicial assistant Rose Rizzico, who confirmed his death, said he had been suffering from cancer.

Hall was appointed to the seat on the New York appeals court, which hears cases from New York, Connecticut and Vermont, in 2004 by former President George W. Bush.

Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston said that, during his years on the court, Hall distinguished himself as a thoughtful and humane jurist who was generous and considerate with his colleagues.

“Judge Hall was committed to public service and taught us all by his example,” Livingston said in a statement. “He was a kind and very dear friend. This is a sad day for the judges of the Court of Appeals.”

Hall announced last week that he was taking senior status, the term used for a judge deciding to take a reduced workload.

His last public appearance came last month, when he traveled to Montpelier to swear in Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, who had clerked for him in 2014 and 2015.

“He has worked tirelessly and with great humility and integrity, on the bench in New York and in his Chambers in Rutland, Vermont to offer his voice, Vermont’s voice, in the Court’s pursuit of justice,” Gray said in a statement when Hall took senior status.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Hall was a good friend.

“Vermont and the country are richer for his many years of service,” Leahy said in a statement.

Hall was born in Connecticut in 1948 and moved to Vermont at age 11. A tribute to Hall from the appeals court said that Hall’s great-great-grandfather served as governor of Vermont and he always considered himself a native Vermonter.

Hall graduated from Cornell Law in 1977 and went on to serve as a law clerk to Vermont’s late U.S. District Court Judge Albert Coffrin. He also served as Vermont’s U.S. attorney.

After he joined the appeals court, Hall said he enjoyed spending one week a month in New York and then working the rest of the time in Vermont.

“He loved being in New York with the judges,” said Rizzico.

Hall is survived by his wife Maria Dunton, five children and five grandchildren.

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