Domestic Policy

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  Supreme Court Justice Souter To RetireApril 30, 2009 20:08 Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning retire at the end of the current court term. Souter, 69, has informed the White House of his decision and plans to return to his native New Hampshire according to NPR, which first reported the story.

According to NPR, Souter will remain on the court until a successor has been chosen and confirmed. The court recently finished hearing a term of oral arguments and will begin issuing decisions this summer before reconvening in October.

"It's not a terrible shock that Souter would be leaving. He has perennially be one of the names listed when folks think about potential retirements, mostly because he's never really taken to Washington or to the insider scene that has attracted so many other Justices over the years," said CBS News legal affairs analyst Andrew Cohen.

President Barack Obama will now have his first opportunity to appoint a new justice to the high court.

"Souter's replacement isn't likely to cause any dramatic change on the Court since he's typically held the Court's center and if anything has leaned left over the past several terms. So if Obama as predicted selects a moderate the Court will pretty much retain the balance it has now," Cohen said.