There are two excellent, in depth articles on retiring Supreme Justice David Souter today that are well worth reading.

The first is from Linda Greenhouse, the longtime top-notch New York Times SCOTUS reporter who retired a few years ago (and who, by the way, I hoped would come out of retirement). Greenhouse discusses Souter's eccentricities and how his dislike for D.C. and the trappings of being a Supreme Court justice were not signs of a loner, as he is often portrayed. And, in particular, she notes indications that he was becoming extremely displeased with the direction of the court.

Greenhouse concludes by describing Souter's uniqueness.
...That this prophecy is likely to prove correct does not necessarily mean that David Souter is going away mad, or that, more generally, his well-known distaste for Washington is driving him back to New Hampshire. Rather, on the eve of his 70th birthday, he is going home to reclaim a life he put on hold 19 years ago.

During the Bush years, as Justice Souter's place on the liberal side of the bench became ever more firmly anchored, the cry of "no more Souters" was often heard from Republican activists, dismayed at how the president's father's choice had turned out. They can now, perhaps, take comfort. David Souter is an original. There will be no more Souters.

The second piece is by Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. Rucker travels to Souter's rural cabin in Weare, New Hampshire, providing an intriguing look at Souter's perspective. Here are a couple interesting tidbits from the piece.
Souter is well liked, gentlemanly and funny, known for telling stories in his deep New England accent. (At his confirmation hearing, he reportedly said "lore" for "law," "floor" for "flaw" and "sore" for "saw.") But though he is friendly with many in Washington, he has few friends there. A lifelong bachelor with no surviving immediate family, Souter is particularly close to retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor and to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and often joins their families at Thanksgiving.

Souter has a self-awareness about his shyness in public, even joking about his awkwardness to colleagues. "In a perfect world, I would never give another speech, address, talk, lecture or whatever as long as I live," Souter wrote to Blackmun. "I know you get a kick out of these things, but you have to realize that God gave you an element of sociability, and I think he gave you the share otherwise reserved for me."

Souter is the court's wealthiest justice, but perhaps its most frugal. He arrived in 1990 with reported assets of $627,010, but thanks to a shrewd investment in a New England bank, he now is worth between $6 million and $30 million, according to his financial disclosures. Yet he resides not in a glamorous Georgetown townhouse but in the same mundane Southwest Washington apartment. One night in 2004, during a jog by himself around nearby Fort McNair, he was mugged.

Who knew?