Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

NPR reporting Supreme Court Justice Souter to retire. Obama's first pick


President Obama will soon be able to fill a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Several news outlets--NPR was the first I heard--are reporting that David Souter will be leaving at the end of the term.

NPR---National Public Radio--press release with the exclusive from Nina Totenberg that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire at the end of the current term arrived in my e-mail in box at 10:21 p.m. eastern time.

MSNBC release with the Souter news from Pete Williams hit my e-mail inbox at 10:38 p.m. eastern

NEW YORK--April 30--At 10:57 p.m., NBC News' Pete Williams broke the news of
Justice Souter's retirement on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."

But then MSNBC sent out a release with a revised time.

NBC News' Pete Williams Breaks Story of Justice Souter's Retirement on MSNBC
Note: Time of Breaking News corrected to 9:57 p.m.

POLITICO's e-mail with the Souter news hit my e-mail in box at 10:46 p.m. eastern.
Supreme Court Justice David Souter Plans to Retire at End of Current Court Term
11:30 p.m. eastern



April 30, 2009; Washington, D.C. - NPR News is exclusively reporting that Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire at the end of the Court's current term. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has exclusively learned that Souter plans to retire to return to his native New Hampshire, and has informed the White House of his decision. Souter's retirement would give President Obama his first appointment to the Supreme Court. Totenberg broke the story at 9:36PM (ET) on NPR News' All Things Considered.

Totenberg reports that Souter is expected to remain on the bench until a successor has been chosen and confirmed, which may or may not be accomplished before the court reconvenes in October. The court has completed hearing oral arguments for the year and will be issuing rulings and opinion until the end of June.

More details will soon be available at Totenberg will discuss this story tomorrow morning on NPR News' Morning Edition; for local stations and broadcast times, visit



NBC News' Pete Williams Breaks Story of Justice Souter's Retirement on MSNBC

NEW YORK--April 30--At 10:57 p.m., NBC News' Pete Williams broke the news of
Justice Souter's retirement on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."

Below is the story from

NBC: Souter to retire from Supreme Court
His retirement would give Obama his first chance to nominate a justice

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire, sources told
NBC News Thursday night.

Speculation about Souter's plans began to swirl as the eight other justices were
known to have hired the four law clerks who will work with them in the Supreme
Court term that begins in October. Souter has been the lone holdout, hiring no

A retirement by Souter, 69, would give President Barack Obama his first chance
to nominate a justice and the next few months would bring Senate confirmation

Several government sources said that Souter had signaled his intention to
retire, NBC News correspondent Pete Williams reported. It was unclear whether
Souter would retire at the end of the current term or as soon as a nomination
can be made. Wednesday was the last day of oral arguments in the current court

For the last three years, at least, the identities of Souter's clerks for the
upcoming term have been known by now. Gossipy legal blogs actively seek out the
names of the clerks - recent graduates of the nation's top law schools who go on
to lucrative careers and, sometimes, the Supreme Court.

Clerkships are highly sought and applicants have been known to interview with
multiple justices in the hopes of landing a job at the high court. Chief Justice
John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens were clerks when
they were younger.

Clerks typically start work in July and spend the summer poring over appeals to
decide which ones they think the court should hear. Justice Clarence Thomas
recently said of new clerks that "the way that we work, there is no start up
time. You hit the ground running and you're ready to go."

Other candidates for retirement
The other candidates for retirement are Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 76, and
Stevens, 89, although neither has betrayed any intention of leaving. Ginsburg,
who is undergoing chemotherapy following surgery for pancreatic cancer in
February, said she wants to serve into her 80s.

In 1990, Republican President George Bush nominated Souter for the position of
Supreme Court justice. Little was known of his positions on issues at the
forefront of the news, such as abortion, and it was hoped by conservatives that
his literal interpretations of the Constitution would work in their favor.
However, Souter's interpretations of the Constitution were more liberal than the
Republican Party had hoped.

According to Biography Resource Center Online, during the Casey v. Planned
Parenthood case, Souter voted to uphold the Roe v. Wade decision governing a
woman's right to an abortion and also voted to prohibit prayer at high school
graduation ceremonies in Lee v. Weisman.

In defense of his abortion stance, Souter wrote that, as a nation, we have come
to rely on the "availability of abortion" and to overturn Roe v.Wade would be "a
surrender to political pressure ... so to overrule under fire in the absence of
the most compelling reason to re-examine a watershed decision would subvert the
Court's legitimacy beyond any serious question."

Since that time he consistently voted on the more liberal sides of issues.

Souter attended Harvard University, graduating Phi Betta Kappa in 1961 with a
major in philosophy. Before returning to Harvard to attend law school, Souter
won a Rhodes Scholarship to Magdalen College at Oxford.


I hope Obama can find an unqualified, anti-life, homosexual, brown-skinned judge that hates President Bush to replace Souter. I know how much he wants to please his elitist, immoral constituents and his groupies around the world.

It will be interesting to see if Obama picks his former colleague at the University of Chicago Law School, former Covington & Burling law firm member and current federal Judge Diane Pamela Wood, to start sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.

Coincidentally, Obama's former colleague at the University of Chicago Law School is apparently the same federal court judge who threw the civil lawsuit of the Superior Bank depositors (who lost their money when Superior Bank collapsed in 2001) against Economic Recovery Advisory Board Member Penny Pritzker out of court--when the former Superior Bank/Coast-To-Coast Financial Corporation board member Penny Pritzker was the Obama campaign's national finance chair

And, coincidentally, the Covington & Burling law firm which used to employ both Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder and Judge Pamela Wood is the same Washington, D.C. corporate law firm that represented Economic Recovery Advisory Board member Pritzker's Superior Bank/Coast-to-Coast Financial before federal regulators following the mysterious collapse of Penny Pritzker's bank in 2001, after this bank engaged in financially reckless subprime mortgage lending.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 30, 2009 9:31 PM.

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