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. 228rory

    How come the only blatant spelling and grammar mistakes i find on these boards come from Obama detractors? Is it because you are stupid or you have massive fat fingers. I am inclined to speculate the former.

    It is EVEN Phoenix86...... Not EVAN.... that is someones name. Every time you misspell a word or you muddle your argument with terrible grammar, your argument loses credibility and you come off as a total idiot. I understand purposely missing grammar to expedite the argument, but if you can't even spell the word "even", you should probably go back to school.

    May 1, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Alan Smith

    Ten bucks says "pro-life" freepers will flip out over President Obama's use of the word "empathy." Irony, anyone?

    May 1, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Gerry Atrick

    " I hope Obama nominates a gay man or a lesbian."

    Uh, they didn't call Souter the "most eligible bachelor in Washington" for no reason, you know.

    I'd like to see heads explode on the are my picks for the next Supreme Court justice (in no particular order):

    A really hot Latina judge.
    Bill Aryes.
    Hugo Chavez
    Anita Hill
    A seven-foot tall, black transexual
    Jerry Brown
    Heidi Fleiss
    Emma Goldman
    Rachael Maddow/Keith Olderman
    Whoever wins the next Project Runway
    An ACORN volunteer
    The editor of High Times

    May 1, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. mfhpr

    May 1st, 2009 5:19 pm ET

    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!

    Pompous??? You're bright! All one has to do to know the definition of pompous is to watch any video of W. He is the epitome of the word...

    Arrogant??? It's called confidence. You watched way too much of your fearless leader being squirmy and lacking self image and respect to identify with confidence.

    Jerk??? Hmmm...seems he's not hiding from anyone or starting needless wars that kill innocent people. Wake up and take notice that our leader is LEADING!!! Know the meaning of the word???

    May 1, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. David

    "It’s time to let people make their own announcements."

    He had just gotten off the phone with justice Souter. For all we know, Souter asked him to make this announcement to relieve him of some of the chore.

    May 1, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Saul- Virginia

    To Obamalovernot, Willy brown, Phonix86 etal,

    The president went to the press room as a gesture to justice Souter, who was picked by Reagan, to give a fomal respectable note.

    Ifyou were a retiring Justice that serve your country overa decade, won't you apreciate such a formality from the president?

    I do not expect you to answer yes to this question since you lack the intelligence and common sense to think that way.

    I am so grateful for not being associate with or related to such haters like you.

    May 1, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Beverly in NC

    Souter did an excellent job as a Jurist remainly fiercely independent and one who made decisions after long and careful analysis. He asked excellent questions of those with cases before him. I wish him the best.

    Now what we need is someone who will bring more balance back to the Supreme Court. We need a moderate and someone who will judge and make critical decisions based on the case and its implications for not only then but for that will stand the test of time.

    Abortion is a non-issue. No matter how hard the far right conversatives scream – that battle is long over. Women's rights will not be sent backwards by taking away her freedom choose. If conservatives want to do something relevant, then teach sex education, provide contraception, and why don't the real nutjobs go out and start adopting all these unwanted children from foster care. Of course they would never adopt, they don't care what happens to the child's future of hopelessness, just as long as it gets born then they forget about it.

    Gay marriage will soon seem as ignorant as not allowing interracial marriage. It will be decided by the states and will be a non-issue within a few years.

    We need to look far beyond this short-term arguments to a Jurist who can make intelligent, independent, and long-standing decisions based on the case – not based on political rhetoric (like the crazy Scalia and his pawn, Thomas).

    America has reached a turning point with new diversity, new challenges, new issues because of our progress (ex. relative to technology) and we need to look far ahead in choosing the best person who fits the new America while standing firm in protecting our Constitution and rules of law/

    I feel certain President Obama will make excellent choices since he himself is a constitutional lawyer and understands the importance of a balanced non-political Court.

    May 1, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. carlos

    to that thing phoenix86......that's why the evangelical/conservatives are called repugnant reptiles just like you......why you ask.....look in the mirror and you'll see why........trash

    May 1, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Gary in Oregon

    So Jerry. Just what constitutional rules have been broken by President Obama? Or the Constitutionally elected Congress?

    May 1, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Golden State Girl

    WOW! You people on this blog are America's intelligent and informed. SAD and SCARY!

    May 1, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Fair is not Fair

    To ALL Obama haters: Two words: Kick rocks !!!

    May 1, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. The Pintwin1

    To "Me":
    Chief Justice Hillary Clinton?!? OMG! Perhaps she'll be able to vacate her Husband's impeachment. She should stop paying her taxes now, so she can improve her chances. Even better: Appoint Mr. Clinton to the bench, and he can do it himself...the Supreme Court must have interns, right? LOL.

    Thanks for reading! (and hopfully, laughing!)

    May 1, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. IonaTrailer

    BREAKING NEWS: Obama to nominate Jesus Christ to Supreme Court - Republicans Announce Filibuster

    May 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. vinny

    To: flybyshoeing...Obama won by 6% points...and that was with an unpopular president and falling economy. About 20% of the people and 95% of the media worship the guy...creepily. The rest of the people are trying to judge and follow whats going on. We can't all be on blogs all day, because we have jobs. We have to make money so the liberals can spread the wealth to the underachievers and lazy.

    May 1, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Jealous

    All you haters are just mad that this President can speak extremely well. You should be happy that we have a leader who can now speak our own language correctly.

    May 1, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. jm from sc

    Givemeabreak, I am sorry you were mislead to believe the president will always have blue eyes and blonde hair. If you could look at Chinney and Bush who falsley created a war that killed thousands, you should be able to look at this handsome man.

    May 1, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Billy J in Texas

    Haters! Give it up! The country is going to get good governance eventually, whether you like it or not. I have faith as long as the big elections are legit, that we WILL continue to work on that more perfect union stuff.

    On the other hand, grousing all day long is probably all you have. I apologize for raining on your parade with reality today. Have a good weekend.

    May 1, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Vince

    To those posters on the right;
    I think your greatest joy would be to see this country completely fall apart, just so you could say "I told you so".
    Ever hear the saying "cut off your nose to spite your face"? It amazes me how reluctant you people are to accept someone else's ideas. The people spoke, the right lost. It is now time for the pendulum to swing back in the other direction.

    But, reading these blogs is depressing. The amount of hat, ignorance and misguided energy out there makes me loose hope for this country. Fortunately, I realize you are a minority. And a shrinking one at that.

    But for now, that's it. I can't read these blogs anymore. You people are idiots.

    May 1, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. j

    Okay, a logic lesson for all the ObamaNuts; if getting this country on track was truely at the base of all that has been done, why wasn't the stimulas money given the the taxpayers that have paid it – they could then have paid off mortgages- result – no crisis; they could have paid off credit cards-resut – no banking crisis; they could have paid off care loans-results- no auto industry crisis. That was NOT in the interest of the Donkeycrats. No crisis, no reason to push more government control down our throats. No unemployment gone rampid – no reason to make the stupid decission made. The economy would have been stimulated, and most likely for less money. But this was/ is not in the interest of the Donkeycrats, who have been in control for the last 4 years at least. So stop Bush bashing. The mistakes are owned by Obama now.

    May 1, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. danel

    Sour grapes for those who are not supportive of the president. For those who's supportive, we sure glad to see him on tv informing us of what's going on. I'd rather see him every day on tv if it makes my life a little better. It's been 4 months now that he has not taken any vacation yet. Compare that with Bush who almost take vacation every month.

    May 1, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Free at last

    @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***Sometimes it is best to keep your pie hole shut and let people think you are stupid,than to open your mouth and remove all Doubts
    @Givemeabreak May 1st, 2009 4:16 pm ET
    I'm with you Jerry! And geash I am so sick of looking at Obama-he's scary****President Obama is soooo Handsome......You can take your Break Now with an extra 15 min ...Thank YOU!!!!

    May 1, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. dan

    Give the Republicans a break. They lost the election. Their party is beyond lost. They have no hope. So they lash out. Remember, they are used to getting their way. And as we know, in their eyes, it is their way, or no way. So, like a little kid when you won't let him or her have their way, they lash out. But take heart Republicans. There is a big meeting this weekend of key Republicans. They are going to come up with a strategy to re-energize the party, and to start gaining some momentum. Unfortunately, odds are that the strategy they come up with will have nothing to do with new and innovative policies. Instead, they will come up with a strategy to try to get more people to share their antiquated beliefs.

    May 1, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. b


    Must be frustrating not being to release that pressure building inside of you. It’s not our fault if you don’t have a partner. I guess the only kind of president you know is one that takes vacations all the time, too bad you’re stuck with Obama!

    May 1, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Givemeabreak

    I wonder why the liberals always have to make this a black/white-Republican-Democrat issue. How about right vs wrong? Oh that would leave you out.

    May 1, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Andi

    I do recall the Supreme Court handles cases other than on abortion? No? Why are you righties so fired up about abortion? Isn't choice an individual freedom? Perhaps the Right is worried the Supreme Court might have to hear a Freedom of Religion or Separation of Church and State case....that would really suck for them.

    May 1, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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