Thursday, April 30, 2009

Breaking News: Justice Souter to Retire.

Oliver Wendell Holmes was the oldest justice to serve when he gave up the bench at the tender age of 90. At 89, Justice John Paul Stevens is quickly approaching the record. Heck, even Judge Judy is contracted to work until 2013. So what is Justice David Souter's problem? NPR has reported that Souter plans to retire at the end of the October 2009 term. At age 69, only three Supreme Court Justices are younger. A Republican appointed by George Bush the elder, Souter was initially painted as a right wing conservative by senators opposing his appointment. NOW decreed he would "end freedom" for women and the NAACP opposed his nomination. John Sununu assured President Bush that Souter would be a "home run" for conservatism. From 1990 to about 93, Souter did fit that mold. By the late 1990s , Souter eased up his stance on abortion. He began voting more liberal on the death penalty, workers rights and criminal rights. By 2005, Souter was listening to the Grateful Dead, began wearing tie dye shirts, sponsored frisbee tournaments and was often heard telling Scalia to "chillax." So what's next for the man who was once named by the Washington Post as one of D.C.'s most eligible bachelors? Well ladies, he has no cell phone, no answering machine, no television and prefers a fountain pen to email. He also has no job. Nevertheless, a retired Supreme Court justice might just be the arm candy you want as you dine at the hottest early bird specials in Boca Raton. Sick of Delores bragging about her daughter marrying a successful dentist? Show up to bingo with a retired judge. That'll shut her up. Morty bought a new cadillac. So what. You can tell them that in 92 "Sootzy" decided that overrulling Roe v Wade "under fire in the absence of the most compelling reason to re-examine a watershed decision would subvert the Court's legitimacy beyond any serious question." Alright, so the chances of Justice Souter moving to Boca are probably slim to none. Chances are he will go back to New Hampshire to live in some mountaintop cabin. (I picture the cabin much like the one in the movie Commando staring the current governor of California minus Alyssa Milano..but I digress). After Bush v. Gore, it was reported a dejected Souter considered resigning because of the partisan nature of the ruling. Like Michael Corleone being betrayed by Fraido, Bush v Gore broke Souter's heart. Speculation that he would retire was fueled further when Supreme Court observers noted Justice Souter took on no new law clerks. Souter's departure will give the Obama administration an opportunity to shape the direction of the Supreme Court. Keep an eye on Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Paula Abdul who's contract is up for renewal at American Idol.

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