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David Souter on Government Reform

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Bush Sr. 1990)


Originalism is fine, but it's pulling a rabbit out of a hat

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter both addressed constitutional interpretation recently before law school audiences. While each embraced originalism as one tool in the judicial arsenal, they were also quick to spell out its shortcomings.

"Originalism is fine if you don't expect too much from it," Souter told attendees of his lecture at Harvard Law School, likening the methodology to pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Source: Speech at American Constitution Society , Sep 22, 2009

Backs federal powers over states’ rights

The nine court members can be divided into three general alliances, but all of the justices have crossed ideological lines. The three conservative justices and two of the swing justices, including Souter, usually support states’ rights.

Souter frustrates conservatives by consistently backing federal powers. He’s a leader of the four-justice minority trying to slow movement to states’ rights.

Source: Reuters article in Boston Globe, p. A45 , Dec 1, 2000

Other Justices on Government Reform: David Souter on other issues:
Samuel Alito
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elena Kagan
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts
Antonin Scalia
Sonia Sotomayor
Clarence Thomas

Former Justices:
David Souter
Sandra Day O'Connor
William Rehnquist
John Paul Stevens

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Page last updated: Jul 11, 2013