For a historian, newly retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter seems exasperatingly shortsighted.
He didn't want cameras filming the court's public business during his 19 years on the nation's highest tribunal.
Now, he doesn't want scholars prying into his papers for 50 years.
Who'll be around by then who knew him?
Souter, nominated to the court by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, shunned publicity throughout his tenure, so the public at large didn't witness his droll wit or quiet charm.
If you squint, you might see plausible arguments for not inviting TV voyeurs into the grand courtroom where the justices hear arguments in some of the country's most important legal disputes. Of course, he was only one of nine votes on that.
But Souter alone controls access to the collection he's given to the New Hampshire Historical Society.
If he values civic literacy in government as he says he does, why hide such a rich trove of original source material for so long?
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