David Hackett Souter
Born: 17 Sep 1939, Melrose, MA
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
|David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939 ) has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1990 . He filled the seat vacated by William J. Brennan . On the Court he usually votes with the liberal wing, though not as consistently as his predecessor. He currently ranks fourth in seniority among the Associate Justices.
Souter was born in Melrose, Massachusetts . He is the only child of Joseph Alexander Souter and Helen Hackett Souter. His father, a banker, died in 1976. He spent most of his childhood and adolescence at his family's farm in Weare, New Hampshire . He attended Concord High School in New Hampshire.
He went on to Harvard College , from which he received his A.B. , concentrating in philosophy and writing a senior thesis on the legal positivism of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. , the famous Supreme Court justice. In 1961 he graduated from Harvard magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa . He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and chose to attend Magdalen College, Oxford , where he received a B.A. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University and an M.A. in 1963. He then entered Harvard Law School , graduating in 1966.
After law school he worked as an associate at Orr & Reno in Concord, New Hampshire from 1966 to 1968. But he accepted a position as an Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire in 1968, beginning a lifelong career in public service. As Assistant Attorney General he worked in the criminal division as a prosecutor. In 1971 Warren Rudman , then the Attorney General of New Hampshire, selected him to be the Deputy Attorney General. In 1976, Rudman resigned to enter private practice and Souter succeeded him as the 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 New Hampshire Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in 1983.
David Souter became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on May 25, 1990, having been nominated January 24, 1990. His old friend Warren Rudman (who had since been elected a Senator) and former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu - then chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush - were instrumental in both his nomination and his confirmation to the Supreme Court. [ Editorial Note: Jonathan Bangs (1640-1728) was the 8th Great Grandfather of both David H Souter and George W Bush thus making them 9th cousins.]
Later that year, President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on July 25 , 1990, and he took his seat on October 9 , 1990 , shortly after the United States Senate confirmed him by a vote of 90 to 9 after the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out the nomination by a vote of 14-3. The press called him the "stealth justice" since his professional record provoked no real controversy, and provided very little paper trail.