David Souter says he will live up to his monkish, bookish, workaholic image when he joins the Supreme Court next week, but he also hopes to do a few "touristy things" after he moves to Washington.
Souter, whose primary after-work pleasure seems to be more work, said this week he expects that he will stick to his office and lawbooks at least for his first year in the nation's capital."We all know the work load there is enormous," he said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I realize what I'm getting into. I intended to work a long week anyway, but I imagine I'm going to have my limits tested."
He said he understands his fellow justices want him to start as soon as he is sworn in Tuesday morning.
"They very much wanted me to start sitting Tuesday because there is always the possibility of a 4-4 decision if they're sitting without a full complement," Souter said.
What little free time Souter may have already is being mapped out for him by the district's social set. An article this week in The Washington Post named the 51-year-old jurist the city's most eligible bachelor, which Souter said "sounds pretty good to me."
"I've really got to wait and see what effects it brings," he said.
"There are some things that I have never done that most school kids have done," Souter said. "I have never, for example, toured the Capitol."
He did manage a brief peep at the building's Rotunda as he called on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July.
"I said to the man from the White House who was with me, `I've just got to go in and look at this for a minute,' " he said. "I kind of gawked around until I realized that people were moving their eyes from the murals to me, so I retreated . . . .
"Someday - I may have to do it with a paper bag over my head - but someday I'm going to do some of those touristy things that I would really like to do."
His last weekend before joining the court will be spent finding somewhere to live and reading briefs.
Souter said his lack of preparation - no apartment, no law clerks, no secretaries - wasn't carelessness, but simply practical. He worried the Senate might not approve his nomination.
"You can chalk it up maybe to, as one of my friends says, a nautical superstition," he said. "Maybe I read too many Greek tragedies. I don't believe something's going to happen like that until it's happened.
"Even apart from that, I think if I were a member of the Senate and I realized somebody was out lining up law clerks or apartments or anything else, I think I would regard it as extraordinarily presumptuous."
Lining up an apartment, however, should not be hard. Souter's living requirements are simple - he told friends that all he wants is a bedroom big enough for a bed, a living room big enough for a chair, a kitchen and a bathroom.