John McCaslin

Not surprisingly, after two decades on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice David H. Souter has announced his pending retirement at age 69. He longs for the calm and serenity of his longtime New Hampshire home. Can you blame him?

Practically every story written about the Justice Souter in recent days has recalled that he has not liked living in Washington, that he purposely avoids the social circuit, preferring the privacy of his spartan apartment on Capitol Hill.

We might recall when the "crime emergency" was declared in Washington in 2003, which only got worse in 2004. Wouldn't you know, on the last day of April that year Justice Souter was attacked and beaten by an angry group of thugs while merely jogging along the safer streets of our capital city.


Seemingly in no time, cancer has consumed the remarkable life and career of a former football star and politician whose kindness and generosity this columnist won't ever forget.

Jack Kemp was a serious contender for the 1988 presidential nomination when he embarked on a fact-finding trip to Central America, where he huddled, covertly speaking, with Contra rebels in the remote jungle of war-torn Nicaragua.

This columnist was one of a handful of writers accompanying the congressman from New York on his tour, and on the return flight to Washington there came an occasion when he inquired about my family. He was intrigued to learn that my father, Robert, who shall soon turn 92, was an FBI agent for 37 years under J. Edgar Hoover.

He listened as I recalled numerous tales told to me by my dad of World War II-era espionage and counterespionage - including how my mother, Wanda Larson, once went "undercover" for Mr. Hoover in the days before he allowed the bureau's women the worthy rank of "agent." (Fortunately, she traded in her FBI badge for motherhood).

Two days after the trip, I was surprised when a handwritten letter addressed to my father arrived at the McCaslin family home. Mr. Kemp wrote to say that he was sitting in the darkened forward compartment of his chartered airplane, returning to the nation's capital from a less than cheerful journey to Central America, and before time consumed his busy schedule again he had wanted to thank my father, who was long since retired, for his many decades of service to the country.

And then, speaking as the father of his own four children, he wanted my dad to know that he had done a fine job of raising his son.


Inside the Beltway was on hand at the Birchmere in Alexandria to see the newly retired Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, take the stage with his successor, Sen. MarkWarner, Virginia Democrat.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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