Friday, May 1, 2009
United States President Barack Obama will get the chance to make his first United States Supreme Court appointment as a number of unnamed sources close to Associate Justice David Souter announced the Justice's retirement from the body, to take place in June.
NPR suggests that Souter was waiting to confirm that colleagues John Paul Stevens, now 89, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has cancer, were not retiring in the coming year before making his decision; the earliest public indication of his retirement was the April 29th discovery by the Associated Press that unlike the eight other Justices, Souter had not hired a staff for the upcoming session of the Supreme Court, which begins in October.
A spokesperson for the Justice said that Souter had no comments on the reports of his retirement.
Souter, currently 69, retires from the court as the sixth-oldest justice, but his departure is unlikely to change the court's ideological balance. While appointed by Republican President George H. W. Bush in 1990, Souter has consistently voted as a member of the court's center-left bloc and a liberal nomination by Obama would likely be confirmed by a majority in the United States Senate.
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the United States; its decisions on the interpretation of the Constitution can be overridden only by a constitutional amendment.
== Sources ==
Deborah Charles and James Vicini. "Supreme Court Justice Souter plans to retire" — Reuters, April 30, 2009
Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny. "Souter Said to Be Leaving Court in June" — New York Times, April 30, 2009
Nina Totenberg. "Supreme Court Justice Souter To Retire" — NPR, April 30, 2009
Mark Sherman. "Does Souter's silence on hiring mean he's leaving?" — Associate Press, April 30, 2009