Supreme Court Justices Challenge Traditional Marriage in Their Own Lives

Supreme Court justices challenge traditional marriage in their own lives.

ByABC News
March 18, 2013, 12:45 PM

March 22, 2013 -- intro: The Supreme Court is gearing up for two days of arguments on the definition of marriage – whether California's Prop 8 same-sex marriage ban and the separate federal Defense of Marriage Act that bars same-sex couples from receiving federal survivor benefits are constitutional.

The American nuclear family has long been in flux, and the makeup of the Supreme Court, to a certain degree, reflects the changes in the notion of family. While there is not a same-sex union or relationship among the nine justices, several have been divorced, one has never married, one has no children, two justices have adopted children and another has as many children as there are Supreme Court justices.

quicklist:1title:Antonin Scaliatext: Justice Antonin Scalia is no stranger to dealing with groups of nine, at home and at work. He and his wife, Maureen Scalia, were recently described by the Washington Post as having "enough children to field a baseball team and enough grandchildren to form a basketball league." Scalia has nine children and 33 grandchildren.

Scalia met his wife on a blind date when he was at Harvard Law School and she was an undergraduate at Radcliffe College. They married in 1960 after their respective graduations.

Maureen Scalia is a self-described "pro-life advocate" and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Nurturing Network, a pregnancy crisis center.

One of the more famous Scalia children, Eugene, followed in his father's footsteps. Eugene Scalia is currently a partner at Gibson Dunn LLP in Washington, and was previously solicitor of the Department of Labor in the Bush administration.


quicklist:2title:Anthony Kennedytext:Anthony Kennedy and his wife, Mary Davis Kennedy, are both Sacramento natives and have known each other since childhood. They were married on June 29, 1963, and have three children, two sons and one daughter.

Mary Davis Kennedy received her master's degree from Stanford University. She also worked as a librarian in the Sacramento public school system and a teacher at Golden Empire Elementary School.

All three of the Kennedy children, Justin, Gregory and Kristin, attended Stanford University, their parents' alma mater. Like his father, Gregory Kennedy graduated from Stanford Law School and is a partner at the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.


quicklist:3title:Clarence Thomastext:The Supreme Court's second African-American justice has been married twice. In 1971, Thomas married his college sweetheart, Kathy Grace Ambush, with whom he had a son named Jamal Aldeen. The couple divorced in 1984 after 13 years of marriage.

In 1987, Justice Thomas married Virginia Lamp Thomas, a lobbyist and aide to Republican Rep. Dick Armey. Had the marriage occurred 20 years earlier, it would have been illegal in Thomas' home state of Georgia, which, like many southern states, prohibited interracial marriage at the time.

The couple had no children together, choosing to focus on raising Jamal Aldeen. They later took in Thomas' great-nephew, Mark Martin Jr.

Lamp Thomas has continued her involvement in politics, working with a number of conservative advocacy groups, including the Heritage Foundation and Liberty Central.


quicklist:4title:Ruth Bader Ginsburgtext:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg met her future husband, Martin Ginsburg, on a blind date while an undergraduate at Cornell University. The couple married a few days after her college graduation.

Martin Ginsburg was an internationally renowned tax attorney and law professor at Georgetown University's Law Center. The couple moved from New York City to Washington, D.C., as his wife ascended to the D.C. Circuit Court.

The couple has two children: Jane Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia University Law School, and James Ginsburg, founder and president of Cadille Records, a classical-music recording company.

Martin Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic cancer on June 27, 2010, four days after the couple celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary.


quicklist:5title:Stephen Breyertext:The American legal system has a long-standing history of avoiding legal ties to royal aristocracy, but that doesn't mean justices can't marry nobility. Justice Stephen Breyer married the Honorable Joanna Freda Hare in 1967. Hare is a psychologist and a member of the British aristocracy.

Hare is the youngest daughter of John Hare, 1st Viscount Blakenham, who was a Conservative British Republican. Joanna Freda Hare currently works at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The couple have three children, Chloe, Nell and Michael. Chloe Breyer is an Episcopal priest and author of "The Close: A Young Woman's First Year at Seminary."


quicklist:6title:John Robertstext:Chief Justice John Roberts waited until his early 40s to marry his then girlfriend, Jane Sullivan. The two married in 1996 when they were both 41 years old. The couple initially met in 1986 but didn't begin dating till five years later.

They first met at a beach house, but Jane soon departed for a year in Australia. They rekindled their friendship upon her return.

The couple married comparatively late in life and adopted two children -- John and Josephine -- in 2000. They are now both 12 years old.


quicklist:7title:Samuel Alitotext:Justice Samuel Alito, the son of an Italian immigrant, is married to Martha-Ann Bomgardner Alito. Martha-Ann was a law librarian in the United States attorney's office when they met.

The couple married in February 1985 and have been together ever since.

The Alitos have two grown children, Laura and Philip Samuel.


quicklist: 8title:Sonia Sotomayortext:In her new autobiography, "My Beloved World," Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes very personally about her life, including her failed five-year marriage. and subsequent divorce from Kevin Noonan, her high school sweetheart.

The couple married right after her graduation from Princeton University in 1976 at a small chapel at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The marriage, however, did not last. Sotomayor told NPR that neither she nor her husband was prepared for marriage. The two divorced in 1983, never having had children.

In her autobiography, Sotomayor attributed her decision not to have children in part to her struggle with diabetes, the deaths of her alcoholic father and drug-addicted first cousin.

While Sotomayor has never remarried, she told NPR that she would like to be in a relationship again but did not believe that marriage should define a woman's happiness. "It's a little hard right now, being a Supreme Court justice," she told NPR. "First, I have to master this job a little bit more."


quicklist: 9title:Elena Kagantext: Justice Elena Kagan, one, along with Sonia Sotomayor, was President Obama's nominations, has never married and has no children. A close friend and former roomate of Kagan's, Sarah Walzer, told Politico that Kagan had dated a lot, both in law school and later.

"She dated men. We talked about men — who in our class was cute, who she would like to date, all of those things. She definitely dated when she was in D.C. after law school, when she was in Chicago – and she just didn't find the right person."