Souter will leave after the current court term recesses in June, the source said.
Filling Souter's seat would be President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court appointment -- and the first since George W. Bush's picks of Samuel Alito in 2006 and Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.
Souter, 69, was tapped for the court by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, but disappointed many conservatives when he turned out to be a typical old-fashioned Yankee Republican -- a moderate, with an independent, even quirky streak.
Souter's departure will leave the two oldest justices -- and the most liberal -- still on the bench. Retirements for John Paul Stevens, 89, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 76, have been rumored for years, with many expecting that one or the other would be the first to give a new Democratic president a Supreme Court vacancy.
Souter's decision came as something of a surprise, although he has long been known to prefer the quiet of his New Hampshire farmhouse to the bustle of the nation's capital.
plez sez: the two oldest justices - john paul stevens and ruth bader ginsburg - are still hanging in there, but it will only be a matter of time before Obama will be tasked with replacing them (ginsburg returned to the bench this year after a bout with cancer). all told, Obama's appointments to SCOTUS will probably be the lasting legacy of his presidency. he will appoint at least three justices to the nine person bench.
SCOTUS appointments last far longer than the presidency, since they are appointed for life. and a relatively young justice, like clarence thomas when he was appointed, can remain on the bench for 30 to 40 years!
i can see Obama calling someone like bill clinton to bench, or reaching into the federal bench to find a hispanic or asian american to fill the open seat. your thoughts?
Read the MyDD.com article about whether Souter plans to retire.
Read the AJC.com article about Souter's plans to retire in June.
Read the Washington Post article about Souter's plans to retire.
Read the CNN.com article about Justice Souter plans to retire.