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Souter Says Goodbye

(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
The justices of the Supreme Court gave a warm farewell today to their departing colleague, Justice David Souter.

Souter will retire now that the court is "rising" for the summer recess. The remaining justices, along with former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, wrote a personally-signed, affectionate letter to Souter, and he wrote one in return.

The justices said they have felt a "profound sense of loss" since Souter announced his retirement, but "we understand your desire to trade white marble for White Mountains, and return to your land 'of easy wind and downy flake.'"

Souter will be be retiring to his home in New Hampshire.

"Though you will not be among us in our daily labors, we are grateful that the privilege of your sturdy friendship will endure long beyond your departure from the bench and tables we have shared," the letter says.

The justices praise Souter for his "wisdom, civility, and dedication to the cause of justice."

In a response, Souter wrote, "Your generous letter has touched me more than I can say."

"I will not sit with you at our bench again after the Court rises for the Summer this time, but neither will I retire from our friendship, which has held us together despite the pull of the most passionate dissent," Souter says in the letter, which he signed, "Yours affectionately."

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