David Souter can't get cable TV for the black-and-white set at his farmhouse, so he watched himself become the Supreme Court's newest justice at a friend's law office.
The soft-spoken judge toasted the moment with champagne and was cheered by friends after the Senate approved his nomination 90-9 Tuesday night."I have read in more than one place remarks by members of the Supreme Court who have said that nothing prepares a person to assume the responsibilities of that office," he told reporters. "I believe very strongly that I am going to feel the same way."
Souter, a 51-year-old bachelor of spartan tastes, drove himself the 12 miles from his farmhouse in his native Weare to the Concord law office of his friend, Tom Rath, to watch the Senate debate.
In a parking garage, reporters watched as he struggled with an electronic meter that refused to acknowledge his quarters.
"I'll tell you, I've certainly got a lot of witnesses that I tried to put money in the meter," he joked. "So if I get a ticket, you guys are witnesses."
Souter appeared stunned into silence after the vote and about 20 minutes of celebration and calls from President Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle and Justice Anthony Kennedy, until now the high court's newest member.
Souter was driven a block to the Statehouse and ducked into Gov. Judd Gregg's office.
He later emerged to address reporters and state employees.
"Both the president's nomination and the Senate's confirmation are wholly beyond the scope of any thanks I could give to them," he said.