Souter stepping down from U.S. SC

By John O'Brien | May 1, 2009


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter has announced his retirement from the Court, giving President Barack Obama the opportunity to pick his successor.

Souter, 69, told the White House that he will step down in June, a report by The Associated Press says. Souter was appointed to the Court in 1990 by President George Bush after having served as attorney general and Supreme Court justice in Hew Hampshire.

Princeton University provost Christopher Eisgruber said this may be the first of many opportunities for Obama.

"If President Obama serves two terms, he could become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to appoint five or more justices -- more than half of the entire Court," said Eisgruber, author of "The Next Justice: Reparing the Supreme Court's Appointments Process."

"We are about to find out if he will follow the example of George W. Bush and appoint staunch ideological allies, or if he wants to follow Eisenhower's example and appoint moderates who are acceptable to a broader range of the country's electorate.

Souter, who also served as a federal appeals judge, earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Harvard University. He also spent time at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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