David Souter

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Legal Newsline)--Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter will speak at Harvard University's 359th commencement ceremony this spring, the school announced Monday.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Souter served on the nation's highest court from 1990 until June 2009.

During his time on the court, Souter emerged as a reliably liberal vote, siding with consumers over businesses, backing abortion rights and defending the separation of church and state.

"During his years on the nation's highest court, Justice Souter approached the vital work of judging with a deep sense of independence and fairness, a close attention to the facts of each case, and a clear concern for the effects of the court's decisions on the lives of real people," Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement. "The dedication, humility, and commitment to learning with which he has pursued his calling should be an inspiration to any young man or woman contemplating a career in public service."

Souter, 70, will speak during afternoon commencement exercises on May 27 in the Tercentenary Theatre of Harvard Yard.

Souter was appointed to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, in 1990, just months after Bush had nominated him to a seat on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

He was tapped to replace Associate Justice William Brennan Jr. on the Supreme Court. President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor as Souter's successor.

He was New Hampshire attorney general in 1976, leaving in 1978 to serve on the state Supreme Court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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