Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire from the Supreme Court. This is breaking news...comment will come later tonight or tomorrow.
UPDATE: Here is a link from MSNBC.com regarding Souter's retirement.
I promised a comment, and here it is...with Souter stepping down, the Court's makeup isn't likely to change much: though appointed by the first President Bush, Souter became a more-liberal-than-not justice, so the balance will remain the same with Obama likely picking a liberal judge. However, the replacement for Souter will give Obama the opportunity to place a young, liberal mind on the Court's bench, much like Bush II did with Chief Justice John Roberts, who will likely be on the court for the next 30 to 40 years.
Without a doubt, conservatives will turn this into a battle on the abortion issue. With a strong, Democratic Senate, the confirmation of a pro-choice justice should be fairly easy, with some Democratic senators possibly voicing their concern but ultimately voting in Obama's choice, assuming he/she is an astute legal mind. Some other issues that may come up: gun rights, gay marriage, and judicial activism.
One consequence of this selection, however, could be the galvanization of the right wing in the country -- if Obama selects someone too far left, it's likely that he'll infuriate the right and even some in the middle.
I'm confident, however, that Obama will plan out his selection very carefully, much like he's tried to do everything else in his short tenure as president so far.