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Obama Wants Souter Replacement by October

U.S. President Barack Obama says his replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter will share his respect for the nation's constitutional values. The president also hopes the new justice will be confirmed before the Court's new session starts in October.

President Obama interrupted spokesman Robert Gibbs' daily press briefing on Friday to say that Justice Souter had just notified him of his plans to retire.

Mr. Obama told reporters he intends to replace Souter with somebody with a sharp and independent mind, and a respect for the U.S. Constitution. "I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time," he said.

News of Souter's decision to retire had been reported earlier in the day, but there had been no reaction from the White House until the president entered the briefing.

Mr. Obama said he plans to work with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to ease the confirmation process for whoever he nominates to replace Souter. "As I make this decision, I intend to consult with members of both parties, across the political spectrum. And is it my hope that we can swear in our new Supreme Court justice in time for him or her to be seated by the first Monday in October, when the Court's new term begins," he said.

The president praised Souter, who is stepping down after 19 years on the high court.

His replacement will be Mr. Obama's first pick for the Supreme Court, and the first nomination by a Democratic president in 15 years.