Bush Names Appellate Judge to Brennan Seat
Tuesday, July 24, 1990
President Bush announced yesterday that he will nominate appellate court judge David H. Souter of New Hampshire to the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice William J. Brennan Jr.
Brushing aside questions about Souter's views on a range of issues from abortion to civil rights, Bush said the jurist, 50, who is considered an advocate of judicial restraint, was selected for his "keen intellect and highest ability." Souter, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate three months ago for a seat on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has 12 years of court experience, including five years on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The nomination drew a cautious response from liberal and civil rights groups, which began a scramble to examine Souter's record. Although Souter was not their first choice, conservative groups labeled him at least acceptable, but most said they were examining his record.
The reaction on Capitol Hill was also cautious as several lawmakers said they would reserve judgment until they learned more.
Souter, standing to Bush's side as his nomination was announced, said he would not comment on any judicial issues until his confirmation hearings. The White House quickly brought in Kenneth Duberstein, a White House chief of staff under President Ronald Reagan, to guide the nomination through the Senate.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said that he did not expect hearings on the Souter nomination to begin until September but that there would be "plenty of time" for the Senate to act on the nomination before the high court returns in October for its next term.