Obama: The Search For A Souter Successor Has Begun

President Obama, in a surprise visit to the White House briefing room as press secretary Robert Gibbs was, well, briefing the press, confirmed what everyone had already known: that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will leave at the end of June, when the current term concludes.

The president said he was "incredibly grateful" for Souter's service, praising the 69-year old justice as "fair minded" and "independent," and said he was known for his "integrity, equanimity and compassion."

Obama said he would consult with members of both parties, across the political spectrum, in deciding on a successor. He said that he hoped to have a new justice sworn in by the first Monday in October — when the new court term begins.

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