Bush Names Appellate Judge to Brennan Seat
Tuesday, July 24, 1990
In his first appointment to the Supreme Court, President Bush yesterday chose a little-known conservative jurist with impeccable credentials who is so new on the federal appeals court that he is still working out of a temporary office.
A Rhodes scholar and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, David H. Souter was confirmed as a judge on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April, and has no published opinions so far.
But Souter is no stranger to important Republican officials -- including White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, and Sen. Warren B. Rudman (N.H.), a former state attorney general -- and his judicial philosophy generally appears to be that of the "strict constructionist" Bush said he would appoint to the court.
Souter served as Rudman's deputy, was appointed attorney general in 1976, and named a state superior court judge in 1978. When Sununu nominated him to the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1983, Rudman described him as "the finest constitutional lawyer" he had ever known.
Sununu, for his part, said in administering the oath of office to Souter that "when I'm old and gray, people will say, 'This is one of the greatest things you did as governor.' "
Souter caught the attention of Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and other Justice Department officials brainstorming about possible nominees in the event of a high court vacancy when he was interviewed in connection with the 1st Circuit seat.