The President. My oath to the Constitution charges me to faithfully execute the Office of President and, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Few duties are more important in discharging that obligation than my responsibility, under article II, section 2 of our Constitution, to select from among all possible choices one nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.
The task of narrowing the selection to one highly qualified jurist, committed to the rule of law and faithful to the Constitution, could never be easy; but I have found it enormously satisfying. My choice will serve the Court and the Constitution well.
I am most pleased to announce that I will nominate as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court a remarkable judge of keen intellect and the highest ability, one whose scholarly commitment to the law and whose wealth of experience mark him of first rank: Judge David Souter of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Judge Souter, I believe with all my heart, will prove a most worthy member of the Court. His tenure as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New Hampshire, as Attorney General of that State, and more recently as a Federal appeals judge unquestionably demonstrates his ability, his integrity, and his dedication to public service. And he has a keen appreciation of the proper judicial role rooted in fundamental belief in separation of powers and the democratic principles underlying our great system of government.
Let me pay tribute, too, to the Justice whose retirement from the Court created the vacancy: Justice William Brennan. His powerful intellect, his winning personality and, importantly, his commitment to civil discourse on emotional issues that, at times, tempt uncivil voices have made him one of the greatest figures of our age. No one can question his dedication to the Nation and the energy that he has brought to his high office. His retirement is marked by the dignity and honor that characterized his 34 years of service on the bench. And I told him the other day when I talked to him of the respect that Mrs. Bush and I have for him, for his wonderful service. In choosing to nominate Judge Souter -- who, like Justice Brennan, is largely a product of the State court system -- I have looked for the same dedication to public service and strength of intellect exemplified by Justice Brennan.
My selection process was not geared simply to any legal issue. It is not appropriate in choosing a Supreme Court Justice to use any litmus test. And I want a Justice who will ably and fairly interpret the law across the range of issues the Court faces. Our country serves as a model for the world at a time of special significance, and I stress within the White House and to the Attorney General that our process could not be dominated by politics or special interests. And I believe that we've set a good example of selecting a fair arbiter of the law.
Judge Souter will bring to the Court a wealth of judicial experience on the Supreme Court of his State, and before that as a State trial court judge. Prior to his appointment to the State bench, he was Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire. Judge Souter is a graduate of the Harvard Law School, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard College. He was also a Rhodes scholar.
My respect for his outstanding record led me earlier this year ...
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