Supreme Court Justice David Souter Plans to Retire

Washington As Justice Souter arrived at the Supreme Court Friday, he knew he will soon be able to return to his beloved New Hampshire. He will leave as a disappointment to conservatives including the first President Bush who chose him. They believe he sided too often with liberals on the court.

His law clerks claim he is conservative, but a different kind of conservative. "justice souter was someone that came into every case with an open mind," said former Souter clerk Meir Feder.

Souter's retirement will not change the balance of power on the court.

President Obama is expected to choose someone at least as liberal or moderate as Souter. He may also choose a woman to join the only other woman on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "Yes, I want women on the court, absolutely," said Obama in a March 2008 Interview.

The president described his ideal nominee during a forum on CNN. "What I do want is a judge who's sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside, those who are vulnerable, those who are powerless, those who can't have access to political power and as a consequence, can't protect themselves from being dealt with unfairly."

As Mr. Obama chooses his nominee, his advisors will include Vice President Biden. George Stephanopoulos said on ABC's "This Week," "Remember, he used to be head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He presided over the confirmation hearings of six Supreme Court justices."

President Obama is expected to move quickly. In time, the White House hopes for the new justice to take his or her place for the court's next session in October.

The president may already have a short list to replace Justice Souter.

One possibility is the current U.S. Solicitor General, Elena Kagan. She's a former law professor at Obama's alma mater, Harvard University.

Another well-known name who might make the list is Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

The rest of the possible candidates are sitting federal judges. Among them: Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court in Illinois, Margaret McKeown of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and Diane Wood of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

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