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David Hackett Souter ( ; born September 17, 1939) is an American lawyer and jurist who served as an
associate justice Associate justice or associate judge (or simply associate) is a judicial panel member who is not the Chief Justice, chief justice in some jurisdictions. The title "Associate Justice" is used for members of the Supreme Court of the United States ...
of the
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court
from 1990 until his retirement in 2009. Appointed by President
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
to fill the seat that had been vacated by William J. Brennan Jr., Souter sat on both the Rehnquist and the Roberts courts. Souter grew up in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and attended
Harvard College Harvard College is the undergraduate education, undergraduate college of Harvard University, an Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636, Harvard College is the original school of Harvard University, the oldest ...
,
Magdalen College, Oxford Magdalen College (, ) is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Today, it is the fourth wealthiest college, with a financial endowment of £332.1 ...

Magdalen College, Oxford
, and
Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (Harvard Law or HLS) is the law school of Harvard University, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing syste ...
. After briefly working in private practice, he moved to public service. He served as a prosecutor (1966–1968) in the New Hampshire Attorney General's office (1968–1976), as the attorney general of New Hampshire (1976–1978), as an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire (1978–1983), as an associate justice of the
New Hampshire Supreme Court The New Hampshire Supreme Court is the supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Par ...
(1983–1990), and briefly as a judge of the
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (in case citations, 1st Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: * District of Maine * District of Massachusetts ...
(1990). Souter was nominated to the Supreme Court without a significant "paper trail" but was expected to be a conservative justice. Within a few years of his appointment, Souter moved towards the ideological center. He eventually came to vote reliably with the Court's liberal wing. In mid-2009, after Democrat
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...

Barack Obama
took office as U.S. president, Souter announced his retirement from the Court. He was succeeded by
Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Maria Sotomayor (, ; born June 25, 1954) is an American lawyer and jurist who serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was Sonia Sotomay ...

Sonia Sotomayor
. Souter has continued to hear cases by designation at the circuit court level.


Early life and education

Souter was born in
Melrose, Massachusetts Melrose is a city located in the Greater Boston metropolitan area in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Its population, per the 2020 United States Census, is 29,817. It is a suburb located approximatel ...
, on September 17, 1939, the only child of Joseph Alexander Souter (1904–1976) and Helen Adams (Hackett) Souter (1907–1995).Yarbrough, Tinsley E
"David Hackett Souter: Traditional Republican on the Rehnquist Court"
, Oxford University Press, 2005,

, Cornell University Law School
At age 11, he moved with his family to their farm in Weare, New Hampshire. Souter graduated second in his class from Concord High School in 1957. He then attended
Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the History of the Puritans in North America, Puritan cler ...
, graduating in 1961 with an A.B. ''
magna cum laude Latin honors are a system of Latin phrases used in some colleges and universities to indicate the level of distinction with which an academic degree has been earned. The system is primarily used in the United States. It is also used in some Sou ...
'' in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. Some ...
and writing a senior thesis on the
legal positivism Legal positivism (as understood in the Anglosphere) is a school of thought of analytical jurisprudence developed largely by legal philosophers during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Jeremy Bentham and John Austin (legal philosopher), John Aus ...
of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. While at Harvard, Souter was inducted into
Phi Beta Kappa The Phi Beta Kappa Society () is the oldest academic honor society in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, p ...
. He was selected as a
Rhodes Scholar The Rhodes Scholarship is an international Postgraduate education, postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom. Established in 1902, it is the oldest graduate scholarship in the world. It is con ...
and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (later promoted to a
Master of Arts A Master of Arts ( la, Magister Artium or ''Artium Magister''; abbreviated MA, M.A., AM, or A.M.) is the holder of a master's degree awarded by University, universities in many countries. The degree is usually contrasted with that of Master of ...
degree, as per tradition) from
Magdalen College, Oxford Magdalen College (, ) is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete. Today, it is the fourth wealthiest college, with a financial endowment of £332.1 ...

Magdalen College, Oxford
, in 1963. He graduated in 1966 with a
Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Laws ( la, Legum Baccalaureus; LL.B.) is an undergraduate law degree in the United Kingdom and most common law jurisdictions. Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the law degree awarded by universities in the People's Republic of C ...
degree.


Early career

In 1968, after two years as an associate at the law firm of Orr & Reno in
Concord, New Hampshire Concord () is the capital city of the U.S. state of New Hampshire and the county seat, seat of Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Merrimack County. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 census the population was 43,976, making it the third larg ...
, Souter realized he disliked private practice and began his career in public service by accepting a position as an Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire. As Assistant Attorney General he prosecuted criminal cases in the courts. In 1971, Warren Rudman, then the
Attorney General of New Hampshire The Attorney General of New Hampshire is a constitutional officer of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Contine ...
, selected Souter to be the Deputy Attorney General. Souter succeeded Rudman as New Hampshire Attorney General in 1976. In 1978, with the support of his friend Rudman, Souter was named an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. As a judge on the Superior Court he heard cases in two counties and was noted for his tough sentencing. With four years of trial court experience, Souter was appointed to the
New Hampshire Supreme Court The New Hampshire Supreme Court is the supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Par ...
as an associate justice in 1983. Shortly after George H. W. Bush was sworn in as President, he nominated Souter for a seat on the
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (in case citations, 1st Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: * District of Maine * District of Massachusetts ...
. Souter had had seven years of judicial experience at the appellate level, four years at the trial court level, and ten years with the Attorney General's office. He was confirmed by unanimous consent of the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
on April 27, 1990.


U.S. Supreme Court appointment

President George H. W. Bush originally considered appointing
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to succeed Th ...
to Brennan's seat, but decided that Thomas did not have enough experience as a judge.Greenberg, Jan Crawfor
Clarence Thomas: A Silent Justice Speaks Out
,
ABC News ABC News is the journalism, news division of the American broadcast network American Broadcasting Company, ABC. Its flagship program is the daily evening newscast ''ABC World News Tonight, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir''; other progra ...
, September 30, 2007
Warren Rudman, who had since been elected to the U.S. Senate, and former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu, then Bush's chief of staff, suggested Souter, and were instrumental in his nomination and confirmation. Bush was reportedly "highly impressed by Souter's intellectual seriousness" and Souter's intellect, "particularly impressive in one-on-one meetings", was reported to have been a persuasive factor in his nomination. At the time, few observers outside New Hampshire knew who Souter was,Greenhouse, Lind
Souter Anchoring the Court's New Center
, ''The New York Times'', July 3, 1992
although he had reportedly been on Reagan's short list of nominees for the Supreme Court seat that eventually went to
Anthony Kennedy Anthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) is an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the fed ...
. Souter was seen as a "stealth justice" whose professional record in the state courts provoked little real controversy and provided a minimal "paper trail" on issues of U.S. Constitutional law. Bush saw the lack of a paper trail as an asset, because one of President Reagan's nominees,
Robert Bork Robert Heron Bork (March 1, 1927 – December 19, 2012) was an American jurist who served as the solicitor general of the United States from 1973 to 1977. A professor at Yale Law School by occupation, he later served as a judge on the U.S. Co ...
, had been rejected by the Senate partially because of his extensive written opinions on controversial issues. Bush nominated Souter on July 25, 1990, saying that he did not know Souter's stances on
abortion Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or "spontaneous abortion"; these occur in approximately 30% to 40% of pregnan ...
, affirmative action, or other issues.US Supreme Court
, about.com
Senate confirmation hearings were held beginning on September 13, 1990. The
National Organization for Women The National Organization for Women (NOW) is an American feminist organization. Founded in 1966, it is legally a 501(c) organization, 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in W ...
opposed Souter's nomination and held a rally outside the Senate during his confirmation hearings. The president of NOW, Molly Yard, testified that Souter would "end freedom for women in this country."Kamen, A
For Liberals, Easy Does It With Roberts
, ''The Washington Post'', September 19, 2005
Souter was also opposed by the
NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E.&nb ...
, which urged its 500,000 members to write letters to their senators asking them to oppose the nomination.Molotsky, Irvi
N.A.A.C.P. Urges Souter's Defeat, Citing Earlier Statements on Race
, ''The New York Times'', September 22, 1990
In Souter's opening statement before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate he summed up the lessons he had learned as a judge of the New Hampshire courts: Despite the organized opposition, Souter won confirmation easily.Taranto, James and Leo, Leonar
"Presidential Leadership"
, Free Press, 2004
Souter's performance at the confirmation hearings ensured his approval by the Senate; Walter Dellinger, a liberal Democrat and an adviser to the
Senate Judiciary Committee The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, informally the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a Standing committee (United States Congress), standing committee of 22 U.S. senators whose role is to oversee the United States Department of Ju ...
, called Souter "the most intellectually impressive nominee I've ever seen". The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out the nomination by a vote of 13–1, and the Senate confirmed the nomination by a vote of 90–9; Souter was sworn into office shortly thereafter, on October 9, 1990. The nine senators voting against Souter included
Ted Kennedy Edward Moore Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was an American lawyer and politician who served as a United States senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, upper chamber of the United States Congress, with ...
and
John Kerry John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American attorney, politician and diplomat who currently serves as the first United States special presidential envoy for climate. A member of the Forbes family and the Democratic Party (Unite ...
from Souter's neighboring state of
Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət'' English: , ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England ...
. These senators, along with seven others, painted Souter as a right-winger in the mold of Robert Bork.


U.S. Supreme Court career

Souter opposed having cameras in the Supreme Court during oral arguments because he said questions would be taken out of context by the media and the proceedings would be politicized.On Cameras in Supreme Court, Souter Says, 'Over My Dead Body'
, ''The New York Times'', March 30, 1996
He also served as the Court's designated representative to Congress on at least one occasion, testifying before committees of that body about the Court's needs for additional funding to refurbish its building and for other projects.


Expected conservatism

At the time of Souter's appointment, John Sununu assured President Bush and conservatives that Souter would be a "home run" for conservatism. In his testimony before the Senate, he was thought by conservatives to be a
strict constructionist In the United States, strict constructionism is a particular legal philosophy of judicial interpretation Judicial interpretation is the way in which the judiciary construes the law, particularly constitutional documents, legislation and ...
on constitutional matters, but he portrayed himself as a moderate who disliked radical change and attached a high importance to
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great ...
. In the state attorney general's office and as a state Supreme Court judge, he had never been tested on matters of federal law. After the appointment of Clarence Thomas, Souter moved toward the ideological middle. In two 1992 cases, Souter voted with the Court's liberal wing: '' Planned Parenthood v. Casey'', in which the Court reaffirmed the essential holding in '' Roe v. Wade'' but narrowed its scope; and '' Lee v. Weisman'', in which Souter voted against allowing
prayer Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity or a deified an ...
at a high school graduation ceremony. In ''Planned Parenthood v. Casey'', Kennedy considered overturning ''Roe'' and upholding all the restrictions at issue in ''Casey.'' Souter considered upholding all the restrictions but was uneasy about overturning ''Roe''. After consulting with O'Connor, the three (who came to be known as the "troika") developed a joint opinion that upheld all the restrictions in ''Casey'' except the mandatory notification of a husband while asserting the essential holding of ''Roe'', that the Constitution protects the right to an abortion. By the late 1990s, Souter began to align himself more with
Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer ( ; born August 15, 1938) is a retired American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1994 until his retirement in 2022. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton, and r ...
and
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( ; ; March 15, 1933September 18, 2020) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President ...
, although as of 1995, he sided on more occasions with the more liberal justice
John Paul Stevens John Paul Stevens (April 20, 1920 – July 16, 2019) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1975 to 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the second-oldes ...
than either Breyer or Ginsburg, both Clinton appointees.Ponnuru, Rames
Empty Souter-Supreme Court Justice David Souter
, ''National Review'', September 11, 1995
O'Connor began to move to the center. On
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
cases, workers' rights cases, defendants' rights cases, and other issues, Souter began increasingly voting with the Court's liberals, and later came to be considered part of the Court's liberal wing. Because of this, many conservatives view Souter's appointment an error of the Bush presidency. For example, after widespread speculation that President George W. Bush intended to appoint
Alberto Gonzales Alberto R. Gonzales (born August 4, 1955) is an American lawyer who served as the 80th United States Attorney General The United States attorney general (AG) is the head of the United States Department of Justice, and is the chief law enforc ...
—whose perceived views on affirmative action and abortion drew criticism—to the Court, some conservative Senate staffers popularized the slogan "Gonzales is Spanish for Souter". A ''Wall Street Journal'' opinion piece ten years after Souter's nomination called Souter a "liberal jurist" and said that Rudman took "pride in recounting how he sold Mr. Souter to gullible White House Chief of Staff John Sununu as a confirmable conservative. Then they both sold the judge to President Bush, who wanted above all else to avoid a confirmation battle." Rudman wrote in his memoir that he had "suspected all along" that Souter would not "overturn activist liberal precedents." Sununu later said that he had "a lot of disappointment" in Souter's positions on the Court and would have preferred him to be more like
Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (; March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016) was an American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. He was described as the intellectua ...
. In contrast, President Bush said several years after Souter's appointment that he was proud of Souter's "outstanding" service and "outstanding intellect" and that Souter would "serve for years on the Court, and he will serve with honor always and with brilliance".


Notable decisions


''Planned Parenthood v. Casey''

In the 1992 case '' Planned Parenthood v. Casey'', the Supreme Court upheld the right to abortion as established by the "essential holding" of '' Roe v. Wade ''(1973) and issued as its "key judgment" the imposition of the undue burden standard when evaluating state-imposed restrictions on that right. The controlling
plurality opinion A plurality opinion is in certain legal systems the Legal opinion , opinion from one or more judges or justices of an appellate court which provides the rationale for the disposition of an appeal when no single opinion received the support of a ...
in the case was joined by Souter,
Anthony Kennedy Anthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) is an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the fed ...
and
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was both the first woman nominated and the ...
. Souter is widely believed to have written the section of the opinion that addresses the issue of ''
stare decisis A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjud ...
'' and set out a four-part test in determining whether to overrule a prior decision.
David Garrow David Jeffries Garrow (born May 11, 1953) is an American author and historian. He wrote the book Bearing the Cross, ''Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference'' (1986), which won the 1987 Pulitze ...
later called that section "the most eloquent section of the opinion" and said it includes "two paragraphs that rank among the most memorable lines ever authored by an American jurist".


''Bush v. Gore''

In 2000, Souter voted along with three other justices in '' Bush v. Gore'' to allow the presidential election recount to continue, while the majority voted to end the recount. The decision allowed the declaration of
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Bush family, and son of the 41st ...
as the winner of the election in Florida to stand. In his 2007 book '' The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court'',
Jeffrey Toobin Jeffrey Ross Toobin (; born May 21, 1960) is an American lawyer, author, blogger, and longtime legal analyst for CNN CNN (Cable News Network) is a multinational cable news channel headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Founded in 1980 ...
wrote of Souter's reaction to ''Bush v. Gore'': The above passage was disputed by Souter's longtime friend Warren Rudman. Rudman told the ''New Hampshire Union Leader'' that while Souter was discomfited by ''Bush v. Gore'', it was not true that he had broken down into tears over it.


Relationship with other justices

Souter worked well with
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was both the first woman nominated and the ...
and had a good relationship with both her and her husband during her days on the court. He generally had a good working relationship with every justice, but was particularly fond of
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( ; ; March 15, 1933September 18, 2020) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President ...
, and considered
John Paul Stevens John Paul Stevens (April 20, 1920 – July 16, 2019) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1975 to 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the second-oldes ...
to be the "smartest" justice.


International recognition

Even though Souter had never traveled outside the United States during his years with the Supreme Court, he still gained significant recognition abroad. In 1995, a series of articles based on his written opinions and titled "Souter Court" was published by a Moscow legal journal, ''The Russian Justice''. Those were followed by a book, written in Russian and bearing Souter's name in the title. Justice of the
Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of Legal entity, entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When ...
Yury Danilov, reviewing the 2nd edition of the book in a Moscow English-language daily, made the following remark on Souter's position in '' Bush v. Gore'': "In a most critical and delicate situation, David Souter had maintained the independence of his position and in this respect had become a symbol of the independence of the judiciary."


Retirement

Long before the election of President Obama, Souter had expressed a desire to leave Washington, D.C., and return to New Hampshire. The election of a Democratic president in 2008 may have made Souter more inclined to retire, but he did not want to create a situation in which there would be multiple vacancies at once. Souter apparently became satisfied that no other justices planned to retire at the end of the Supreme Court's term in June 2009. As a result, in mid-April 2009 he privately notified the White House of his intent to retire at the conclusion of that term. Souter sent Obama a retirement letter on May 1, effective at the start of the Supreme Court's 2009 summer recess. Later that day Obama made an unscheduled appearance during the daily White House press briefing to announce Souter's retirement.Obama Announces Souter Retirement
, ''The New York Times'', Caucus Blog, May 1, 2009
On May 26, 2009, Obama announced his nomination of federal appeals court judge
Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Maria Sotomayor (, ; born June 25, 1954) is an American lawyer and jurist who serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was Sonia Sotomay ...

Sonia Sotomayor
. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 6. On June 29, 2009, the last day of the Court's 2008–09 term, Chief Justice Roberts read a letter to Souter that had been signed by all eight of his colleagues as well as retired Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was both the first woman nominated and the ...
, thanking him for his service, and Souter read a letter to his colleagues reciprocating their good wishes. Souter's papers have been donated to the
New Hampshire Historical Society The New Hampshire Historical Society is an independent nonprofit in Concord that saves, preserves, and shares New Hampshire New Hampshire is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by ...
and will not be made public until at least 50 years after his death.


Post-Supreme Court career

As a Supreme Court justice with retired status, Souter remains a judge and is entitled to sit
by designation A visiting judge is a judge appointed to hear a case as a member of a court to which he or she does not ordinarily belong. In United States federal courts, this is referred to as an assignment "by designation" of the Chief Justice of the Unite ...
on lower courts. After his retirement from the Supreme Court and until 2020, he regularly sat by designation on panels of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston and covering Maine, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and his adopted home state of New Hampshire, generally in February or March of each year, but he did not do so in 2021 or 2022. Souter has maintained a low public profile since retiring from the Supreme Court. But in 2016, comments he made during a 2012 appearance at the Capitol Center for the Arts in New Hampshire about the dangers of "civic ignorance" were called "remarkably prescient" of the
presidential campaign President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
of
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician, media personality, and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Trump graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pe ...
.


Personal life

Once named by ''
The Washington Post ''The Washington Post'' (also known as the ''Post'' and, informally, ''WaPo'') is an American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C. It is the most widely circulated newspaper within the Washington metropolitan area and has a large nati ...
'' as one of ''Washington's 10 Most Eligible Bachelors'', Souter has never married, though he was once engaged. Souter was elected to the
American Philosophical Society The American Philosophical Society (APS), founded in 1743 in Philadelphia, is a scholarly organization that promotes knowledge in the sciences and humanities through research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and communi ...
in 1994, and the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (abbreviation: AAA&S) is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is ...
in 1997. In 2004, Souter was mugged while jogging between his home and the Fort Lesley J. McNair Army Base in Washington, DC. He suffered minor injuries from the event, visiting the MedStar Washington Hospital Center for treatment. The problem led to public questioning of the Supreme Court Police's security detail, which was not present at the time. According to
Jeffrey Toobin Jeffrey Ross Toobin (; born May 21, 1960) is an American lawyer, author, blogger, and longtime legal analyst for CNN CNN (Cable News Network) is a multinational cable news channel headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Founded in 1980 ...
's 2007 book ''The Nine'', Souter has a decidedly low-tech lifestyle: He writes with a
fountain pen A fountain pen is a writing instrument which uses a metal nib (pen), nib to apply a Fountain pen ink, water-based ink to paper. It is distinguished from earlier dip pens by using an internal reservoir to hold ink, eliminating the need to repeat ...
, does not use e-mail, and has no cell phone or answering machine. While serving on the Supreme Court, he preferred to drive back to New Hampshire for the summer, where he enjoyed mountain climbing. Souter has also done his own home repairsA No-Frills Embrace for a Low-Key Justice
, ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'', May 3, 2009
and is known for his daily lunch of an apple and yogurt. Former Supreme Court correspondent
Linda Greenhouse Linda Joyce Greenhouse (born January 9, 1947) is an American legal journalist who is the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered ...
wrote of Souter: "to focus on his eccentricities—his daily lunch of yogurt and an apple, core and all; the absence of a computer in his personal office—is to miss the essence of a man who in fact is perfectly suited to his job, just not to its trappings. His polite but persistent questioning of lawyers who appear before the court displays his meticulous preparation and his mastery of the case at hand and the cases relevant to it. Far from being out of touch with the modern world, he has simply refused to surrender to it control over aspects of his own life that give him deep contentment: hiking, sailing, time with old friends, reading history." In early August 2009, Souter moved from his family farmhouse in Weare to a Cape Cod-style single-floor home in nearby Hopkinton, New Hampshire, a town in Merrimack County northeast of Weare and immediately west of the state capital of Concord. Souter told a disappointed Weare neighbor that the two-story family farmhouse was not structurally sound enough to support the thousands of books he owns and that he wished to live on one level.Off the Bench, Souter Leaves Farmhouse Behind
, ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'', August 3, 2009
Over the years, Souter has served on hospital boards and civic committees. He is a former honorary co-chair of the
We the People The Preamble to the United States Constitution, beginning with the words We the People, is a brief Preamble, introductory statement of the United States Constitution, Constitution's fundamental purposes and guiding principles. Courts have r ...
National Advisory Committee.National Advisory Committee


See also

* George H. W. Bush Supreme Court candidates *
Ideological leanings of United States Supreme Court justices The Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all U.S. federal court cases, and o ...
*
List of justices of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest-ranking judicial body in the United States. Its membership, as set by the Judiciary Act of 1869, consists of the chief justice of the United States and eight Associate Justice of the Supreme ...
*
List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States (Seat 3) Law clerks have assisted the justices of the United States Supreme Court in various capacities since the first one was hired by Justice Horace Gray in 1882. Each justice is permitted to have between three and four law clerks per Court term. Most ...
* List of justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by court composition * List of justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by seat *
List of United States Supreme Court justices by time in office A total of 116 people have served on the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over al ...
* United States Supreme Court cases during the Rehnquist Court * United States Supreme Court cases during the Roberts Court * Lost Liberty Hotel


References


Further reading

* Abraham, Henry J., ''Justices and Presidents: A Political History of Appointments to the Supreme Court.'' 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). . * Cushman, Clare, ''The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies, 1789–1995.'' 2nd ed. (Supreme Court Historical Society; Congressional Quarterly Books, 2001). . * Frank, John P., ''The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions'' (Leon Friedman and Fred L. Israel, editors). (Chelsea House Publishers, 1995). . * Hall, Kermit L., ed. ''The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States.'' (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). . * Martin, Fenton S., and Goehlert, Robert U., ''The U.S. Supreme Court: A Bibliography.'' (Congressional Quarterly Books, 1990). . * Urofsky, Melvin I., ''The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary.'' (New York: Garland Publishing 1994). .


External links

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Issue positions and quotes
at OnTheIssues *
Supreme Court Justice Souter To Retire
Nina Totenberg,
NPR National Public Radio (NPR, stylized in all lowercase) is an American privately and state funded nonprofit media organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with its NPR West headquarters in Culver City, California. It differs from othe ...
, May 3, 2009
Online Symposium: Justice Souter and the First Amendment
First Amendment Center The First Amendment Center supports the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, First Amendment and builds understanding of its core freedoms through education, information and entertainment. The center serves as a forum for the study ...
, July 23, 2009
The Selling of Judge David Souter to Movement Conservatives

David Souter discusses his post-Supreme Court future
in the ''
Harvard Law Record The ''Harvard Law Record'' is an independent student-edited newspaper based at Harvard Law School Harvard Law School (Harvard Law or HLS) is the law school of Harvard University, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts ...
'', October 2, 2009
Justice David Souter's Harvard Commencement Remarks
''Harvard Gazette'', May 27, 2010
Supreme Court Associate Justice Nomination Hearings on David Hackett Souter in September 1990
United States Government Publishing Office , - , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Souter, David 1939 births Living people 20th-century American lawyers 20th-century American judges 21st-century American judges Alumni of Magdalen College, Oxford American Episcopalians American Rhodes Scholars Harvard Law School alumni Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit New Hampshire Attorneys General New Hampshire Republicans Justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court People from Melrose, Massachusetts People from Weare, New Hampshire People from Hopkinton, New Hampshire United States court of appeals judges appointed by George H. W. Bush United States federal judges appointed by George H. W. Bush Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States Harvard College alumni Members of the American Philosophical Society