Several sources are reporting that Justice Souter will retire at the end of the term (NBC here).
It isn’t terribly surprising, ATL had been reporting that he hasn’t hired terms for OT09 and UTR reported on a clandestine meeting between Justice Souter and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Assuming that the news agencies are correct: What now? Well, if Justice Souter confirms the stories and officially announces his resignation soon, President Obama may take the next few months to choose a nominee and he may even nominate that person before the Court finishes its term.
Because he did not hire any clerks, it is likely that Souter will announce his retirement immediately upon the conclusion of the term, unlikely Justice O’Connor, who announced that she would resign as soon as her replacement was seated. It is also possible that he will take the same path that O’Connor took and simply ask his clerks to stay on a bit longer. Ordinarily, when a Justice announces his retirement at the end of a term, their successor is confirmed by the first Monday in October.