01 May 2009

Vocabulary in the News: US Supreme Court Justice to Retire

VOA News - US Supreme Court Justice to Retire

By VOA News 01 May 2009

US Supreme Court Justice David Souter (July 2008 file photo)

U.S. media reports say Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire from the high court.

The reports say Souter has informed the White House of his intention to step down in June, when the court's current term comes to an end. Rumors of Souter's retirement have surfaced in recent weeks, due to his failure to hire law clerks, or legal assistants, for next year's term.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court told Reuters that Souter "has no comment" on the reports.

Souter, 69, was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush. He generally sides with the court's three liberal justices in many of the court's major opinions.

His retirement would give President Barack Obama his first opportunity to make an appointment to the Supreme Court.

hire verb [transitive/intransitive] to pay someone to work for you I hired someone to paint the house.
law clerk noun [countable] person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions.
side with verbal phrase [transitive] to agree with one particular person and support them in an argument She always sided with my brother.
step down or step aside verbal phrase [intransitive] to leave an official position or job, especially so that someone else can take your place The manager announced that he was stepping down.
surface verb [intransitive] to become known or obvious after being hidden In the aftermath of the trial, charges of corruption have begun to surface. New information about the murder is slowly surfacing.

Learn more:

United States Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. At its discretion, and within certain guidelines established by Congress, the Supreme Court each year hears a limited number of the cases it is asked to decide. Those cases may begin in the federal or state courts, and they usually involve important questions about the Constitution or federal law.

For more information about the Supreme Court, visit:

pointing finger 01 Listen: Nina Totenberg On Souter's Retirement On Morning Edition from National Public Radio

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