As expected, Justice David Souter voted as a good conservative Republican during his first term on the Supreme Court. On a court that was markedly conservative, Justice Souter voted with the majority 97 times and dissented only five times. To put that in perspective, Justice Thurgood Marshall dissented 25 times.
Of 21 5-4 decisions, Justice Souter was in the majority 15 times -- 13 of which he and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the conservatives' leader, were together. Much of the conservative profile that the newest justice displayed was due to the high number of criminal case opinions this court issued. On non-criminal matters, Justice Souter sided with the chief justice only 41 of 53 times in which there was a liberal-conservative split.
These statistics are good for analysis of the past, but not of the future. No one can say after one term what kind of justice Mr. Souter will be. For one thing, he did not write many opinions -- only eight. That wasn't always considered meager, but in recent years, most justices have been writing more. In some cases, many more. In some cases, too many more: over 40 in several instances.