May 1st, 2009
06:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama personally announces Souter's retirement

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Justice David Souter announced Friday he will retire from the Supreme Court, after informing the White House of his plans.

Souter, in a brief letter to the president, said "When the Supreme Court rises for the summer recess this year, I intend to retire from active service as a justice." The current term is expected to end in late June.

President Barack Obama - breaking into the daily White House news briefing - thanked Souter for his service and said he will choose as his replacement someone who understands "the realities" people go through every day, and someone who understands "the rule of law."

The president said he also will seek someone with a "sharp, independent mind" who has integrity and strives for excellence.

He described Souter as "not only a good judge, but a good person," adding, "I'm incredibly grateful for his good service."

"I wish him safe travels on his journey home and on the road ahead," the president said.

Filed under: David Souter • Popular Posts • President Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. swood

    Of course he needs to retire. How else is going to spend his Exxon payoff money?

    May 1, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    ego, Ego, EGo, EGO!

    May 1, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    this loser just can't stay away from a camera

    May 1, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Jerry

    Maybe Obama plans to abolish the supreme court...he has a Congressional majority and none of them believe in Constitutional rules.

    May 1, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. frank

    Till Republicans surrender and apologize of illegal war and their lies to rush Americans to war!

    May 1, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. KJL

    His departure will be a loss to the system. I wish him a happy retirement.

    May 1, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Buffalo

    Mr. President,

    Thank you for being gracious, sincere, respectful and most of all, intelligent enough to make a statement using real words.

    A US Citizen

    May 1, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Givemeabreak

    I'm with you Jerry! And geash I am so sick of looking at Obama-he's scary!

    May 1, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Sebastian Bonaparte, Baton Rouge, LA

    It's not ego, it's protocol President Obama haters. Next.

    May 1, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. ebkah

    CNN should stop pushing the Latin Sonia Sotomayor for Souter's replacement.

    President Obama has his own mind, and if he picks any minority woman, he should pick an African-American woman (Sears).

    The Latin community had their chance with Alberto Gonzalez and he was a disaster.

    May 1, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Doug

    I thought everybody already knew, I guess Hillary Clinton was the first one notified.

    May 1, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Larry

    It should be one (or more) of those right wing fanatic justices with their delusions of grandeur that should be retiring.

    May 1, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. bajanfranny

    @ Willy Brown

    Bitter, Bitter, Bitter, Bitter

    May 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    Jerry May 1st, 2009 4:05 pm ET

    Maybe Obama plans to abolish the supreme court…he has a Congressional majority and none of them believe in Constitutional rules.

    AND WHAT PARTY BROKE ALL THE CONSTITUTIONAL RULES FOR 8 YEARS. THE REPUBICANS RIGHT! Sorry Jerry it is your party that done believe in Constiitutional rules. Aboration is not a Constitutional rule, but you nutting Republicans think it is.

    May 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Josiah

    This wil be a defining moment for the Obama administration. I think the president will make a good choise.

    May 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. phoenix86

    Now the doors open for abortion on demand at any age and for any reason. Infanticide itself will take another Supreme Court retirement.

    May 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Andi

    Yeah, Jerry, I'm sure Obama is looking to abolish the Supreme people are so angry and you really don't know what about. Give it a rest.

    And as far as Obama's 'ego' – give that one a rest, too. He is the President of the United States, and everything he does is considered 'news'. Though, I'm sure you all probably think that's only true with white Presidents......

    May 1, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Gene

    I love the haters.. Obama is a genuine human being who treats others like human beings... and feels they deserve to be sent off with a personal farewell. Yeah, real egotistical..

    You people.. like Willy Brown.. are idiots. Egotistical would be someone who feels they are too good or too important to deal with a trite goodbye to a colleague. Personally wishing someone good luck and fare well is the exact opposite of being egotistical.. it's being down to earth and honorable.

    May 1, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Paul from Phoenix

    Obama has tons of time for these press conferences. Does he have time to work in between all of his face time?

    May 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. gslippy

    Make no mistake: "the realities people go through" is code for interpreting the Constitution as a living, changing document, NOT as the unchangeable rock it should be.

    May 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. tageis

    He needs to chose someone who will enforce the law and not someone who decides cases based on circumstances the person is in – the law is the law. I also hope he choses someone who will not allow the federal government to take on more rights and take away states rights.

    May 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. mark

    CNN, Obama takes reporters by suprise, yea and they all had a chill run up there leg to.........

    May 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Brian

    Hopefully Souter's replacement won't be a Federalist Society nutcase who thinks corporations are more important than people.

    May 1, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Henry


    Get a life. You really are a liberal in disguide trying your darnest to make Republicans look bad. You are good at it. Your tone gives you away.:)

    May 1, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Idiot_Peolosi

    Obummer hadn't had his ego stroked today, so he needed to get in front of the camera, again.

    I don't know who is more of a "ham", Obummer or 'Slick Willy' Clinton.

    May 1, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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