Justice David Souter

February 22. 2013 2:17PM

David Hackett Souter is a retired Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Though he was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, Souter grew up in the town of Weare, New Hampshire on his family's farm. He attended Concord High School.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude in 1961. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He later attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and received a Bachelor and a Master of Arts In Jurisprudence from the esteemed college. He completed his education at Harvard Law School.

Souter worked at the law firm of Orr and Reno in Concord until 1968, the year he became Assistant Attorney General of the state of New Hampshire. In 1971 he became Deputy Attorney General, a position that was assigned to him by Warren Rudman, the Attorney General at the time.

Souter succeeded Rudman as Attorney General in 1976. In 1978, he became an associate justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire and was appointed by then-Governor John Sununu, to the New Hampshire Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1983.

In 1990, Justice Souter became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit. Within a few months of his appointment, he was nominated to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by then-President George H.W. Bush. He took his seat on the court on October 9, 1990, followed by a landslide confirmation vote of 90 to 9 by the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was dubbed "the stealth justice" by the media for provoking little controversy during the confirmation process.

Souter, although originally a conservative Judge who was appointed by a conservative President, is now known for his liberal views. His New Hampshire property was the subject of some conflict after a Supreme Court decision in Kelo v New London was handed down. The case involved the use of eminent domain to transfer land from a private owner to further economic development. Critics of the decision proposed to seize Souter's personal residence in Weare to build a hotel.

On April 30, 2009, Justice Souter announced that he would retire from the court. He did so at the end of the 2009 session and moved to Hopkinton in August of 2009. He enjoys mountain climbing and hiking and has an extensive library. He has never been married.

In June 2010, Justice Souter gave a memorable commencement speech about the Constitution to Harvard's graduating class.

NH PeopleWeare

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