So long as you don’t read anything

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter has donated his papers to the New Hampshire Historical Society, and while there’s always a good reason to drive up to Concord — I’ve managed to get there twice this decade — seeing Souter’s papers isn’t going to be one of them, unless you’re going very slowly: public access will not be opened for a period of 50 years.

Executive director Bill Veillette:

We’ve had a very long relationship with Justice Souter and, as with any donor, it’s their stuff. If they have wishes or conditions they want to place on it, we’re not going to talk them out of it.

Greg Hlatky, however, is disappointed:

I was looking forward to reading something like this: “July 25, 1993. Came across a book at a second-hand store entitled The Constitution of the United States. I’d never seen it before. I flipped through it and found nothing relevant to my present job.”

This would not be, I suggest, particularly damning, since Washington is just chock full of people who have never so much as flipped through it.


  1. McGehee »

    1 September 2009 · 1:06 pm

    The majority of inside-the-Beltway types would react to the sight of the U.S. Constitution in a manner that would make one think Dracula is a born-again Christian by comparison.

  2. fillyjonk »

    1 September 2009 · 2:30 pm

    Too bad someone can’t demand access to them on the basis of eminent domain…

  3. Kirk »

    3 September 2009 · 7:57 am

    Yes, long gone are the days of Justice Hugo Black, who, legend has it, carried a copy of the U.S. Constitution with him at all times. His jurisprudence, at least, lent credence to this idea, as he was wont to cleave to the text of the Constitution as written in making his decisions.

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