Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire at the end of the current term in June, reports Nina Totenberg of NPR. The move will give President Obama his first chance to make his mark on the court. Souter, 69, has reportedly informed the White House of his decision. He has long made it clear to friends that he doesn't like living in Washington and wants to return to his native New Hampshire.
Souter is apparently convinced that neither 89-year-old John Paul Stevens nor the court's lone woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, plans to step down at the end of the term. His departure is unlikely to change the court's ideological makeup, notes Totenberg. Though Souter was a Republican when appointed by the elder George Bush in 1990, he has generally sided with the court's liberal camp.