David Hackett Souter ( /ˈsuːtər/; born September 17, 1939) served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1990 until his retirement on June 29, 2009. Appointed by President George H. W. Bush to fill the seat vacated by William J. Brennan, Jr., Souter was the only Justice with extensive prior court experience outside of a federal appeals court, having served as a prosecutor, a state's attorney general, and as a judge on state trial and appellate courts. Souter sat on both the Rehnquist and Roberts courts, and was generally regarded as a liberal; others, however, felt he did not fit squarely into any ideological camp. Following Souter's retirement announcement, President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor as his successor.
Souter was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on September 17, 1939, the only child of Joseph Alexander Souter (1904–1976) and Helen Adams Hackett Souter (1907–1995). At age 11, he moved with his family to their farm in Weare, New Hampshire.
Souter attended Concord High School in New Hampshire and went on to Harvard College, concentrating in philosophy and writing a senior thesis on the legal positivism of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. In 1961, he graduated from Harvard magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and earned an M.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1963. He then entered Harvard Law School, graduating in 1966.