The New Hampshire Historical Society has announced that retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter is donating his personal and professional papers to the society. But don’t book travel to New Hampshire quite yet to take a peek; Souter has placed an extraordinarily long restriction on public access to his papers, barring anyone — researchers, historians, friends, journalists — from viewing the material for 50 years. That’s a lengthier seal than any justice has placed on papers in recent memory.
Justice Souter is a lifelong bachlor and a notoriously quirky and private individual. Is the restriction, sure to keep these personal papers sealed until long after he is dead, to conceal the fact that he was the country’s first gay Supreme Court justice?