43 Facts About David Souter


David Hackett Souter is an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court from 1990 until his retirement in 2009.


David Souter served as a prosecutor in the New Hampshire Attorney General's office, as the attorney general of New Hampshire, as an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, as an associate justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and briefly as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.


David Souter was nominated to the Supreme Court without a significant "paper trail" but was expected to be a conservative justice.


David Souter eventually came to vote reliably with the Court's liberal wing.


In mid-2009, after Democrat Barack Obama took office as US president, David Souter announced his retirement from the Court; he was succeeded by Sonia Sotomayor.


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


David Souter graduated second in his class from Concord High School in 1957.


David Souter was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1963.


David Souter graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard Law School.


In 1971, Warren Rudman, then the Attorney General of New Hampshire, selected David Souter to be the Deputy Attorney General.


David Souter succeeded Rudman as New Hampshire Attorney General in 1976.


In 1978, with the support of his friend Rudman, David Souter was named an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire.


David 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.


David Souter was confirmed by unanimous consent of the Senate on April 27,1990.


At the time, few observers outside New Hampshire knew who David Souter was, although he had reportedly been on Reagan's short list of nominees for the Supreme Court seat that eventually went to Anthony Kennedy.


David 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 US Constitutional law.


The nine senators voting against David Souter included Ted Kennedy and John Kerry from David Souter's neighboring state of Massachusetts.


David 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.


David Souter 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.


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 at a high school graduation ceremony.


David Souter considered upholding all the restrictions but was uneasy about overturning Roe.


On death penalty cases, workers' rights cases, defendants' rights cases, and other issues, David Souter began increasingly voting with the Court's liberals, and later came to be considered part of the Court's liberal wing.


David Souter is widely believed to have written the section of the opinion that addresses the issue of stare decisis and set out a four-part test in determining whether to overrule a prior decision.


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.


David Souter came from a tradition where the independence of the judiciary was the foundation of the rule of law.


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.


David Souter worked well with Sandra Day O'Connor and had a good relationship with both her and her husband during her days on the court.


David Souter generally had a good working relationship with every justice, but was particularly fond of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and considered John Paul Stevens to be the "smartest" justice.


In 1995, a series of articles based on his written opinions and titled "David Souter Court" was published by a Moscow legal journal, The Russian Justice.


Long before the election of President Obama, David Souter had expressed a desire to leave Washington, DC, and return to New Hampshire.


The election of a Democratic president in 2008 may have made David Souter more inclined to retire, but he did not want to create a situation in which there would be multiple vacancies at once.


David Souter apparently became satisfied that no other justices planned to retire at the end of the Supreme Court's term in June 2009.


David Souter sent Obama a retirement letter on May 1, effective at the start of the Supreme Court's 2009 summer recess.


David Souter's papers have been donated to the New Hampshire Historical Society and will not be made public until at least 50 years after his death.


David Souter has maintained a low public profile since retiring from the Supreme Court.


Once named by The Washington Post as one of Washington's 10 Most Eligible Bachelors, David Souter has never married, though he was once engaged.


David Souter was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1994, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997.


In 2004, Souter was mugged while jogging between his home and the Fort Lesley J McNair Army Base in Washington, DC.


David Souter suffered minor injuries from the event, visiting the MedStar Washington Hospital Center for treatment.


David Souter has done his own home repairs and is known for his daily lunch of an apple and yogurt.


In early August 2009, David 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.


David 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.


David Souter is a former honorary co-chair of the We the People National Advisory Committee.