Supreme Court Justice William Brennan retired and the Senate approved David Souder to the Court. A very human story.
The most rewarding accomplishment for Warren Rudman in the Senate was the confirmation of his friend David Souder to the United States Supreme Court. In addition to Rudman, President Bush designated Souder for the Supreme Court based on suggestions from John Sununu, one time Governor of New Hampshire. Sununu was much to the right of Senator Rudman and still a force in New Hampshire politics. Rudman and his friend David Souder made an appointment to see President Bush. The President was impressed with David’s modesty intelligence and the sense of duty and he was shrewed enough to anticipate that the Senate and the nation would be impressed by those qulaties too. When Judge William Brennan retired, President Bush nominated Souder for the court within 72 hours. For once, Bush showed an ability to make a quick decision; and his judgment could not have been better.
Nevertheless, there were some hurdles to jump. Those super market tabloids can be vicious. Their articles are not well researched and often just plain lies. David Souder was a life long bachelor and this raised questions about his sexual preference. Actually, Souder dated many women and some relationships were deep and serious. His passionate feelings were reading, climbing New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and listening to classical music. A good Saturday night activity would be a drive to Boston to hear the Orchestra and a visit to some Antiquarian Book store.
Reading gave Souder hours of happiness as he soaked up novels, philosophy, and history and applied it to every day situations. He had the unique ability to fuse different academic subjects. Souder was as close to a Renaissance man as you will find. He valued his time alone but he was not a hermit as these foolish articles seemed to imply. The stories pained Souder but he is one of the toughest person you’ll ever meet.
For one month Senator Rudman and Tom Rath, New Hampshire Attorney General, grilled Souder with a wide range of questions. Both of them sat in the first row behind Souder during the hearings. As it turned out, these question were more difficult than those from the Senate Judiciary Committee six weeks later. Souder told both of them to discuss judicial philosophy but would not comment on specific issues. He did not want to tie himself to a decision based on what he said.
This was never more true than with abortion. Noone knew where Souder stood on the issue. Abortion is not something that is either a yes or no decision. There are many variables to consider; and some of these variables break down into what I call sub-variables for want of a better word. People could go on for a year on abortion and be more confused that when they started. Since Souder had no public record on abortion, he could legitimately claim that he would approach the issue with an open mind. Souder, both as a judge and teacher, had helped many couples and women. He did not tell the Committee what his decisions were except that each one was different. This was obviously the right approach.
However, Souder won the nomination with two conclusion. Souder was just being Souder. He was a real winner when he said two ideas:
–The Supreme Court had better get it right because “…at the end of our task some human being is going to be affected..”
–-With regard to discrimination Souder said this …their is nothing which in my judgment is more tragic or more demanding of the efforts of every American in the Congress and out of the Congress than the removal of societal discrimination in the matters of race and invidious discrimination which we are unfortunately too familiar with. I hope when these hearings are over, will be taken as a given with respect and to my set of values.
The last noticeable comment with race concerned his two friends who were seated being him. Tom Rath’s Mother and Father many times dealt with signs saying Irish Need Not Apply. Warren Rudman in early years felt horrible discrimination because he was Jewish. So Souder stated that his two friend indicated how he felt about racial discrimination. The Senate confirmed Dave Souder by a 90 to 9 voted. In short time all nine opposing Souder’s nomination indicated they were wrong.
In 1992 the Supreme Court voted to affirm Roe vs. Wade in the Case of Casey vs Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The combined efforts of the Reagen and Bush Administration and the Religious Right to overthrow Roe had been defeated but there are no final victories.