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Valentine's Day Engagement? Plan a Supreme Court Wedding

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Since Valentine's Day is near, (and we're in the middle of the Supreme Court recess), we're shifting our focus today from Supreme Court arguments to Supreme Court weddings.

Last summer, we told you that Justice Stephen Breyer officiated at former Congressman Patrick Kennedy's wedding to school teacher Amy Petitgout. Now, David Lat at Above the Law reports that Justice Elena Kagan has jumped on the wedding-officiant bandwagon -- or is a horse-drawn carriage in these situations? -- uniting Columbia Law professor Philip Bobbitt in matrimony with Columbia 3L Maya Ondalikoglu.

If you're looking to snag the ultimate wedding honor for a lawyer, there are several other Supreme Court justices who have officiated weddings in the past:

  • Justice Clarence Thomas officiated at Rush Limbaugh's wedding in 1994.
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over Alan Greenspan's wedding in 1983 and National Public Radio correspondent Nina Totenberg's wedding in 2000.
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor performed a former law clerk's wedding in 2009.
  • Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor officiated at Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh's wedding in 2009.

But what a Supreme Court justice has joined, man can put asunder. Though Limbaugh's Justice Thomas-officiated wedding ended in divorce -- Limbaugh re-married in 2010 -- we can happily confirm (after a little Internet research) that the aforementioned couples for whom Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor officiated are still together.

While we couldn't find anything on Justice Sotomayor's law clerk's marital status, CBS News has a report of Justice Sotomayor challenging another federal judge to a dance-off at a different law clerk's wedding.

Which brings us to the topic of Supreme Court wedding guests.

If you can't book a Supreme Court justice to preside over your marital vows, perhaps you can convince one to toast the happy couple. Just be warned, well-wishes from the High Court do not necessarily equal eternal wedded bliss. Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke at White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi's 2003 nuptials, according to the Christian Science Monitor; but sadly, the couple filed for divorce under dramatic circumstances last year.

The Nine have busy schedules; if you're one of the lucky lawyers who becomes engaged this Valentine's Day, you should place your request for a Supreme Court wedding officiant as soon as possible, and consider scheduling your nuptials during a recess.

When you're planning your wedding, keep the Rolling Stones Rule of Life in mind: You can't always get what you want. So if you don't already know one of the justices, you should probably select a backup officiant as well.

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