By Michelle Austein Brooks
WASHINGTON (RPRN) 5/04/09–Washington was abuzz May 1 as word spread that Supreme Court Justice David Souter intends to step down at the end of the courtâ€™s term in June. His retirement will provide President Obama with the opportunity to nominate an official to a life term on the highest court in the land.
The Supreme Courtâ€™s nine justices make up the court of final appeal from the lower federal and state courts. The court is also the venue for settling legal disputes between states or those that involve another nation.
â€œThe process of selecting someone to replace Justice Souter is among my most serious responsibilities as president,â€ Obama said in a surprise appearance during a White House press briefing. â€œSo I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity. I will seek someone who understands that justice isnâ€™t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of peopleâ€™s lives â€” whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.â€
The court is relatively split among liberal and conservative justices, with Justice Anthony Kennedy in the middle often serving as a swing vote. Souter is relatively liberal, and political experts believe Obama will nominate a judge with similar leanings.
source: “>America -The Blog