Friday, May 01, 2009

Justice David Souter to Retire, Obama Gets First SCOTUS Appointment

Photo courtesy of Washington PostAll of the major news organizations are reporting the Supreme Court Justice David Souter - appointed by George H. W. Bush - has decided to step down the end of this current term, which ends in June. President Barack Obama will get to appoint his replacement.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After more than 18 years on the nation's highest court, Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring, a source close to Souter told CNN Thursday.

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.

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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?

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the article about whether Souter plans to retire.

Read the article about Souter's plans to retire in June.

Read the Washington Post article about Souter's plans to retire.

Read the article about Justice Souter plans to retire.

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Kim said...

Leah Sears-Collins

endangered coffee said...

sadly, the three judges it looks like Obama will replace are all on the solid liberal side. If Scalia were to go, on the other hand

jjbrock said...

Just as different practice backgrounds lend something to the court, the different life experiences that minorities still face in this country also adds something to the court when facing tough issues like what additional remedies for discrimination are still needed.

There is, of course, also the political benefit to the Democratic party of naming the first Asian or Native or Hispanic Justice to the Supreme Court.

So, I am going out on a limb here and say there's a 50/50 chance he will pick a woman.

endangered coffee said...

Let's hope the day is soon here when it is always a 50% chance a woman will be picked for anything, there being 50% of them, and all.

Mista Jaycee said...

I would like to see Dr. Lani Guinear get another shot.