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. teacheng

    So many haters on here. Keep raging yourself into irrelevance.

    May 1, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Thanks Arlen

    The defection by Arlen Spector to the party of panzis is going to backfire wright in their face. We all need to thank Arlen for his party switch before Justice Souter announced his retirement.

    But in an ironic twist, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party this week could give Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee the upper hand in rejecting a nominee they find unacceptable.
    That's because the Judiciary Committee, where Specter was the ranking minority member, requires the consent of at least one Republican to end debate and move a nominee to the full Senate for a vote.
    "Most people presume in a controversial nomination that Arlen Specter would have been the one most likely to vote with Democrats, since he prides himself on being independent of Republicans. But now that he moves over to the Democratic side, the president and Democrats lost their most likely minority vote."


    May 1, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Expat American

    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.
    Jerry you sound like a foolish drunk. Go turn up the Lee Greenwood and misinform yourself even more about the world past the highway exit of your trailer park.

    May 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Karwolo

    Wow, one just need to read these online blogs to ascertain the state of the country: INTERESTING! Anyways Obama needs to stay away from the camera for a bit, there's a risk of overexposure. I don't like his policies and as a conservative with no party, politics makes me sick so I don't care who he chooses for the Supreme Court. He should appoint Michelle Obama, that would make the talking heads of my FORMER party go bananas...

    May 1, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. indiana voter

    It is so hilarious to see Democrats lecture Republicans on being angry, when the Democrats spent the last 8 years spewing some of the worst anti-American hatred ever heard in modern times at the last President. The "hatred" at Obama is no where near the level it was from the left against Bush.

    May 1, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. LIZ

    Is President Obama and his Chief of Staff going to start running everything? He doesn't need a cabinet, much less Congress

    May 1, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal (the REAL arithemtic)

    Look like the Free Republic goose steppers are out in force today!

    May 1, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Florida, Florida, Florida

    Obama is SUCH a breath of fresh air after the nightmare of the last 8 years! I had forgot that intelligence and honor should be one of the first qualities we look for in a President – and I'm a former Republican.

    May 1, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Saul- Virginia

    To Thank you Arlen,

    Don't get too excited, the rules in those sub committes can easily be changed.

    But most importantly, why are you focused on antagonizing the president's pick even before he nominates someone. That tell a lot about the crazy right wingers, i am so glad to not be a part of such idiocracy.

    May 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. J

    Be sure their TAXES are paid up, skeletons are removed from all closets and that they are in full agreement with the current administration and the narcissist we call President. I am sure they will be a Donkeycrat, and believe that the great O is the second coming.

    May 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. whaley41

    It's time to let people make their own announcements.

    May 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Brad

    This is when the idelogical zealots on the right are going to feel the payback of Specter, Snowe, Collings, McCain and the few other Republican moderates in the Senate...judicial appointments.

    May 1, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    Next thing you know Obama will be announcing sweepstakes and lottery winners. No one loves being on camera more than Obama, evan at the expense of the economy and foreign policy.

    May 1, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. a Texan

    I went to the myspace whitehouse blog page, and that was the vilest, rudest group of people blogging on there to our pres..PLEASE. put your comments on your own page and keep the Presidents "respectful"!!!!

    May 1, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Me

    Can the Reichtwing duffusses say
    Madam Supreme Court Justice Hilary Clinton?

    May 1, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Obamalovernot

    I agree Indiana, I have had to listen to BUSH bashing for over 4 years, and it's still going on, they can't let it rest but they can't take 6 months of Obama bashing??? Well guess what? It's not going away. What a pompous, arrogant, jerk!

    May 1, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. mfhpr

    i love reading all the haters' messages...they just keep proving how ignorant and closed-minded they are. it really does add humor to my day!

    perhaps the people on here calling obama an egomaniac are simply scared to acknowledge how stupid their "leader" was in front of a camera. obama actually makes sense and can pronounce words like...nuclear! or, perhaps they don't understand the language spoken by intelligent people???

    May 1, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. flybyshoeing

    Do you 5 or 6 chronic crybabies that are always here complaining about President Obama think anyone cares or that you make a difference? What a bunch of negative personalities you are.

    May 1, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. flybyshoeing

    And another thing. Your chronic complaining about the President being in front of the camera should be grateful he is not hiding from the media like the last guy. How many news conferences did he do. How long did it take him to speak to America about the financial crises? 3 days and he had to be forced by Paulson. Where was he hiding somewhere looking for WMD's You are pathetic

    May 1, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. mfhpr

    Hey J – "Be sure their TAXES are paid up, skeletons are removed from all closets and that they are in full agreement with the current administration and the narcissist we call President. I am sure they will be a Donkeycrat, and believe that the great O is the second coming"

    So you're saying that we should keep doing things like old-school politicians and not concern ourselves with their taxes and skeletons??? Hmmm...I'm sure W would agree with you. Let's bring him back so that all the crooked people can keep running this country into the ground. You're one fart smeller, aren't you...

    May 1, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Real Va

    It is great to see how honesty and integrity function in government. Obama and Souter are true heros in they follow the rule of law, while the possers use the law when it is to their advantage.
    What a releif that the Bush/Cheney reign of terror is over. Let real life begin again. Let the evil right wing nut jobs whine and moan as they flow back into the sewer of their minds. Shalom.

    May 1, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Celobrity

    Obama is doing an excellent job, and I am sure he will approach the appointment carefully and with a great deal of integrity. Thank you, Mr. President fo rall that you are in doing to help our country.

    May 1, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Cruzan Obama Mama

    The haters on here are unbelievable. Do you prefer a President that hid from telling us what was going on & then when he spoke sounded like a total idiot? Do you want to be kept in the dark or are you really upset that he can multitask? Unilike Bush or McCain (I'll let you use your imagination on this one). Bush's best & quickest motions while in office was ducking the shoes thrown by that
    reporter (I'm still annoyed he missed).

    Some of your statements don't even have any relevance with the subject matter of this post. What a bunch of bitter, whining, tantrum-throwing toddlers. GROW UP!!!!!

    May 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Cheryl

    Accusing Obama of ego because he follows correct protocol in acknowledging Justice Souter's contribution to the Court is ridiculous. But then these blogs are filled with nonsensical insults like that day after day from people who never contribute anything of substance to the discussions here.

    Obama obviously used this occasion to prepare the way for his new appointment. To signal the type of judge he'd be looking for and to make the point that his administration will not use Court appointments to force a political agenda down our throats. From the minute Obama took office he has used every opportunity to reassure people that the bad old days of the unethical and sometimes illegal Bush way of doing things are over. This is just another example of that.

    May 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. jake

    I hope he picks Bill Clinton. That would give old OXY Rush something to talk about

    May 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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