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. Rene

    I personally like the hate coming from the retarded just keeps people AWARE that these morons still exist in this country and we need to rid ourselves of their stupid party! Republicans, you are NO LONGER going to fool this country ever again! go back to your cross burning, hood wearing hate speaking selves!

    May 1, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Greg

    Saul Virginia

    Souter was nominated by Bush one thinking he was another rubber stamp conservative not Ronnie Raygun. Either way though he was enemy number one to conservatives. They thought he would vote in lock step with the conservative agenda and when he didn't they showed how vile they could be with their attacks. He is what conservatives hate the most these days – moderate republican – that's a treasonous phrase to them. Just ask Specter, Olympia Snow and John McCain. The latter two soon to change party affiliation to Independent.

    May 1, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Jeff Scheel

    Conservatives use the phrase "interpret,not make the law." It was conservative justices who exceeded the law and appointed a president.

    May 1, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. A New Day

    Be Grateful we got the Coolest President ever

    The Last 8 years were HELL!

    May 1, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Saul- Virginia

    You are right Greg it was Bush-my mistake.

    May 1, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Remi Murphy (Tracy CA)

    darn babies...i wouldn't let my kids whine like this.

    May 1, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Rene

    Our president is an amazing person, love him, his family, his wife and his administration! God Bless You Mr. President...KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! I for one feel safe and confident knowing you're there representing us!

    Repubs...GO AWAY!

    May 1, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. JPC

    ego, Ego, EGo, EGO???? The man said thank you for goodness sakes! What does ego have to do with it????? Some of you people are really sad! The world could be a better place if you all just tried to be a little better. Please!!!!

    May 1, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Mark

    before republicans speak they should be made to fullfill 2 major requirements.....1. go on the tv show... Are You Smarter Than a Five Year Old..... 2. be forced to watch a replay of all the major decisions by the Bush Admn. and what they said on record in support of him and all his policies and his apptointmenst!!!! that might just stop the stupidity out of the mouths of the party of NO... america is moving on, they are tired of the same out dated ideas of the old folks that run the senate and in congress.... pay attention, your ideas are out dated, amercans are smarter and moved on..

    May 1, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Steve, Columbia SC

    I just hope it is the US Constitution our president wants the next justice to understand.........not foreign law and judicial activism. Please remind the president that supreme court justices do not legislate............they are the "judicial" branch.

    I am not optimistic. What kind of "czar" will Obama call him?

    May 1, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. BJ

    For all of you who question the legality of the Iraq war, where is your outrage of Obama moving troops into Afghanistan? Oh yeah, there really are bad guys out there who wish Americans dead and use violence whenever possible. Legal or not, Iraq is in a much better place today then they've ever been. And now let's hope Obama has a 'plan' for Afghanistan.

    About Obama interrupting Gibbs today to make the announcement of Justice Souter. Lame. It's all about the 'show' for Obama. I will cherish the day that politicians put aside the show and just be real with. In other words, not enchanted with any of them.

    May 1, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    At last this country has a President in Obama that knows the Constiution and will be selecting someone who is in the same league. God bless our country, in the past we've voted in presidents that walked all over the Constitution because we didn't know they were doing so.

    May 1, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    "But this was/ is not in the interest of the Donkeycrats, who have been in control for the last 4 years at least..."

    You are allowed your own opinion but not your own facts ... !! The GOP had complete control of Congress and the White House for 6 years and enough warm bodies to be obstructionists for the past 2 + the guy in the White House who finally found his veto pen.

    Pathetic attempts to rewrite history just don't work anymore: And intelligent people are still talking about all the GOP/Bush screw-ups so we can learn and not repeat them.

    Silly, silly people who think name calling is cute and effective: get a clue – reflects more on you than the people you are talking about.

    May 1, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. beverly

    It's really great to have a President with a sense of humor and so personable. Everyone just loves his personality. I don't always agree with his policies but he is the kind of President you feel you can have an intelligent disagreement, without it becoming personal. Republicans are too angry. They could learn a few things about "how to conduct yourself properly" and "how to conduct yourself when in disagreement" from President Obama. I have thought about that alot since polls have proven President Obama is more popular than his policies. Some polls prove what I just stated.
    Anyway, God speed Justice Souter. God Bless President Obama and Vice President Biden.

    May 1, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. Samuel B.

    Justice Souter has served the SCOTUS and his country well. I wish him a happy retirement. As for his replacement, I believe that given the Democratic majority in the Senate, President Obama would be well within his rights to and should nominate the most liberal jurist he could find to counterbalance the two conservative justices that George W. Bush appointed.

    Now if only Scalia or Thomas would retire...

    May 1, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. carlos

    the first bloggers here will soon be forgotten..........and their comments to the trash.....they do not belong where intelligent discourse is apparent.....for now, I will say: bye repugnant reptiles

    May 1, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Mick

    No more religion in politics! no more abortion debate, if you don't like it don't do it, but stop imposing your religious based views on the masses. Religion is what is wrong with this world, not what is right. Time to stop the insanity. there is no right religion, no wrong religion, it is a personal, and I stress, personal, choice. Do not impose your belief system on others. Go to your heaven knowing you did what you thought was right, and leave others alone, let them believe what they want to believe.

    May 1, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. GOPer

    What a cool, charismatic and in touch President! I’m a Republican but you have to like this guy, he has it going on!

    May 1, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Mick

    Obama should nominate Megan Fix and make her sit in court naked except for one of those wigs. That would be hot. And Cspan would have the highest ratings day and night!

    May 1, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. mike

    To Vince:

    Good riddance.

    May 1, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Is the answer in Obama's teleprompter????

    How about a true conservative to replace Souter??? Remember, Bush picked Souter because he thought he was a conservative. But he turned out to be liberal in the end. So, you never quite know with justices.

    May 1, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Reg

    We had an idiot (dubya) appointing sycophants (roberts/alito) to the bench. Now we have a Constitutional Law Professor as President
    and of course like "everything" else do the opposite of the conservatives with their failed policies and duh WE AS A NATION WILL DO BETTER SKIES THE LIMIT!

    It's amazing to me that facts don't matter to these phools!

    May 1, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. pam Eugene OR

    You haters really are small mined people. I can't understand why you don't go somewhere else with like minded people. Most of the people who blog here are respectful Americans and are willing to give OUR President a fair chance. You Republicans just want to come here and dump you bigoted hateful garbage . Please don't think you are upsetting any of us because we feel sorry for you. It must suck to be so hateful and mean spirited. If you want to stay hear and look foolish I guess that is OK by me but I would think you would be happier on a Fixed (FOX) site.

    May 1, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. karen Westfield

    I like the idea that the President came into the press room. And the press guy Henry, you know the one who got smart with the President and got put in his place. He wasn't happy with the announcement on the new justice. He talked with the neo-concervatives and immediately made a statement on the air, that there is going to be a fight. He hasn't even said a name yet. It would be funny if it wasn't sad.

    May 1, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Jude

    What an annoying waste of air time it is to include Mary "Magdalene" Matalin in discussions!!! She is a Bush suck from way back and she simply is unable to understand the criminality of the Bush administration, even to this day. How James Carville can have a conversation with THAT woman is beyond me, let alone live with her!!! Please, isn't it time to find some Repukicans who are not angry, mean-spirited and who are able to discuss some issues with objectivity??? Get rid of Rollins, Matalin, etc., and find some people who can speak intelligently!

    May 1, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
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