Souter Roundup

Here is a collection of links to news and commentary about David Souter’s decision to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court:

NPR’s Nina Totenberg broke the news.

A clerical silence gave it away.

Souter’s departure is unlikely to have a significant effect on SCOTUS’s ideological balance:

Souter was appointed to the court by former President George H.W. Bush, but disappointed conservatives by becoming a dependable member of SCOTUS’ liberal voting bloc. Unless his eventual replacement experiences a similar ideological shift during his or her time on the bench, Souter’s decision is unlikely to have any significant effect on the ideological make-up of the court. The balance of power currently tips towards the right, in part because Justice Anthony Kennedy tends to be more conservative than the previous swing vote, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Whoever Barack Obama picks, though, it’s probably safe to say that person will not be a member of the Federalist Society.  Conservatives are trying to keep a stiff upper lip — although, as Kevin Drum points out, now that the tea parties are winding down, righties will need something else “to go bananas over.”

Jonathan Turley thinks the Court is losing one of its most principled and hard-working members:

The loss of Souter will be felt by Court watchers. I was once asked who I would keep on the Court if I had my druthers. I mentioned Souter because he was one of the few members who did not believe that he was anointed rather than appointed to the Court. Souter is a remarkably self-effacing and gentle person. He is universally liked by the other justices and Court staff. I particularly appreciated that, unlike some of his colleagues, Souter never sought public acclaim or attention. He worked very hard at getting decisions right. While he was more liberal than many Republicans wanted, he was not as predictable as some on the Court. He remained more of a jurist than a purist in his decision; trying to resolve issues without ideological flourishes or grandstanding.

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