Justice David Souter called his Supreme Court time a “sort of annual intellectual lobotomy”

Robert Bork once said serving on the Supreme Court would be “an intellectual feast.” On Monday night, by contrast, Justice David Souter said he undergoes a “sort of annual intellectual lobotomy” when the Supreme Court term begins in October, a condition that he said lasts until the end of the term the following summer.

It was an offhand remark by Souter, made in service of a larger point before an audience of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Washington, D.C.: that Americans need to develop a “habit of mind” that includes reading books — which, he implied, becomes very hard for him to do during the bustle of a Supreme Court term. “I cram what I can into the summertime,” Souter said.

Without making too much of it, Souter’s comment opened an interesting window into his thinking about his job — and why conventional wisdom has it that he is considering leaving the Court soon to repair to his New Hampshire home. If he thinks of his work on the Court, even sarcastically, as a nine-month-long, brain-evacuating experience, it is easier to see why he would want to leave it behind — if nothing else, to catch up on his reading.

See Tony Mauro, Legal Times:



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