Supreme Court Justice David Souter told the White House of his plans to retire in June, a source familiar with his plans said Thursday night, leaving the position open for President Obama to appoint his first Supreme Court justice.
Justice Souter, 69, has served for two decades and has been a reliable member of the court's liberal wing, despite being appointed by a Republican president, he is considered one of the court's more liberal members.
The Obama administration hasn't publicly named any choices to fill a high-court vacancy. But possible candidates could include Kathleen Sullivan, 53, a professor and former dean of Stanford Law School; Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, 53; and U.S. Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 54.
Justice Sears is the first black woman to hold a top state court post in Georgia.
Another oft-mentioned candidate, former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan, 48, earlier this year became Mr. Obama's solicitor general, the official who represents the government before the Supreme Court.