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David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been a US Supreme Court
Associate Justice since 1990.
Souter was born in Melrose, Massachusetts and spent most of his childhood
and adolescence at his family's farm in Weare, New Hampshire. He was
graduated from Harvard College, from which he received his A.B. After two
years as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, he received an A.B.
in Jurisprudence from Oxford University and an M.A. in 1989. After receiving
an LL.B. from Harvard Law School, he was an associate at Orr and Reno in
Concord, New Hampshire from 1966 to 1968, when he became an Assistant
Attorney General of New Hampshire. In 1971, he became Deputy Attorney
General and in 1976, Attorney General of New Hampshire. In 1978, he was
named an Associate Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, and was
appointed to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire as an Associate Justice in
1983. He became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First
Circuit on May 25, 1990.
President George H. W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court, and he took his seat October 9, 1990. The United States
Senate approved his seat 90 to 9. The press called him the "stealth
justice," since his professional record provoked no real controversy.
Souter, along with Rehnquist and Breyer, has a reputation for being a strong
guardian of the court's institutional integrity. Although appointed by a
Republican president, he tends to side with liberals rather than the
conservatives. He dissented from the Court's opinion on the Bush v. Gore
election of 2000 case.
Souter enjoys mountain climbing in New Hampshire during the judicial
off-season. He is Co-chair of the We the People National Advisory Committee.
After he was sworn in he said: "The first lesson, simple as it is, is that
whatever court we're in, whatever we are doing, at the end of our task some
human being is going to be affected. Some human life is going to be changed
by what we do. And so we had better use every power of our minds and our
hearts and our beings to get those rulings right."