POTUS gets his chance to shape SCOTUS. Associate Supreme Court Justice David Souter "plans to retire at the end of the term in June, giving President Obama his first appointment to the Supreme Court," reports The New York Times.
"Justice Souter, who was appointed in 1990 by a Republican president, the first George Bush, but became one of the most reliable members of the court’s liberal wing, has grown increasingly sour on Washington and intends to return to his home state, New Hampshire, according to the people briefed on his plans. The departure will open the first seat for a Democratic president to fill in 15 years and could prove a test of Mr. Obama’s plans for reshaping the nation’s judiciary."
NPR reports Souter was also "satisfied" that neither the court's oldest member, 89-year-old John Paul Stevens, nor its lone woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancer surgery last winter, "wanted to retire at the end of this term."
The 76-year-old Ginsburg is the lone female on the court and the president may be inclined to name another woman. The most prominent names mentioned include Elena Kagan, the former Harvard Law School Dean appointed as solicitor general, 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears.