Sentimental Souter: 'Just Give Them My Love'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 4:42 PM CDT
Supreme Court Justice David Souter.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Supreme Court Justice David Souter thinks the worth of a jurist is “not in the great moments, but in being part of the great stream,” he said in an emotional farewell today to appeals-court judges. Souter said he didn’t intend that news of his retirement be leaked but was glad that it “gives me the chance to say some of the things on my mind," the Washington Post reports. Judges' value comes not from perfect decisions or trials but from being "members of a great guild," he said.

Souter choked up when he recalled asking newly retired William Brennan years ago if he had any messages for Souter to pass long in a speech to judges. "Just give them my love, David. It's going on 20 years since Justice Brennan said, 'Just give them my love,' but that goes for me, too." At another event over the weekend, Souter reminded a luncheon of Oxford alumni that “I'm going to be 70 soon. I’ve watched other justices wait until their 80s to retire, and by that time they have nothing left to retire to. I didn’t want that to be me.”