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U.S. Supreme Court

Justice Souter’s Friends Aren’t Surprised by His Retirement Plans

Posted May 1, 2009 7:25 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Justice David H. Souter’s distaste for life in Washington, D.C., has friends expressing little surprise at his reported plans to retire.

News of Souter’s plans broke yesterday evening. The liberal justice has “a well-known disdain for the ways of Washington” and travels home to his modest farmhouse in Weare, N.H., when the court is not in session, the Washington Post reports.

Concord lawyer Wilbur "Bill" Glahn told the Post he wasn’t surprised by the reports of Souter’s retirement. "I certainly have known it was something he had thought about for years," Glahn said. Glahn worked for Souter in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and has known him for 35 years.

Another friend who saw Souter last summer said the justice was already contemplating retirement at that time. Souter said then, 'If Obama wins, I'll be the first one to retire,' " the friend told the Post.

A court spokesperson refused to comment on the retirement reports.

Souter was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to fill the seat held by William J. Brennan Jr. Souter said during confirmation hearings that he had no agenda on the abortion issue, then surprised observers when he voted to affirm a right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the New York Times reports.

He was a dissenter in Bush v. Gore, the decision ending the Florida election recount and putting George W. Bush in the White House.

Justice Souter’s opinions are available at the website maintained by Cornell Law School.

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