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  Supreme Court Justice Souter Still a Mystery After 14 Years
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ContributorGerald Farinas 
Last EditedGerald Farinas  May 06, 2004 10:52am
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CategoryNews
MediaNews Service - Associated Press
News DateThursday, May 6, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionSupreme Court Justice Souter Still a Mystery After 14 Years
The Honolulu Advertiser

David Souter's encounter with street thugs in Washington put him in a hospital emergency room - and newspaper headlines, which was perhaps just as unnerving for the Supreme Court's most private member. In the 14 years since Souter arrived in the capital with his belongings in a U-Haul truck, he has shunned all perks that come with being a justice. No hobnobbing at exclusive parties, writing books or teaching in exotic locations. He splits his time between a farm house off a dirt road in a small New Hampshire town and a tiny apartment in Washington. He drives a compact car. He eats yogurt at his desk for lunch. In a city where nearly everyone has something to say, Souter never gives interviews and rarely is photographed. At the court, he is known for working into the night, sometimes painstakingly slowly on often the court's most technical cases.

In 1990, when the first President Bush named Souter to the Supreme Court, he was nicknamed the "stealth nominee" because so little was known about him despite his decades in public service as a prosecutor and judge. Since then, conservatives have watched with disappointment as Souter sides repeatedly with the court's more liberal members, voting to uphold the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and limit the use of the death penalty. Conservative Campaign Fund leader Peter Flaherty, who opposed Souter's appointment, said recently that while he is disappointed by many of Souter's votes, he respects him for not getting "caught up in this cult of celebrity that seems to be gripping our society."
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