Antonin Scalia, Frank Easterbrook, Harvard Law Review, John Roberts, Merrick Garland, Michael Boudin, Neil Gorsuch, Office of Legal Counsel, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Clerks, Weddings, Williams & Connolly

Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: Potomac (Wedding) Fever

Washington, DC is often derided as a contemptible swamp full of power-mad squabblers and greedy leeches. And we don’t dispute that. The nation’s capital can be fairly awful when viewed through certain lenses. Still, if you can overlook the pettiness and the posturing, there’s a lot to love about Washington. And a lot of love in Washington, as demonstrated by the newlyweds featured below. All three of these über-impressive couples live and work in and around DC, and we think you’ll agree that any town that’s attracting such gifted, ambitious young people can’t be all bad.

Our finalists:

Jane Kucera and Paul Nitze

Anne Pierson and Robert Allen

Kate Heinzelman and Jonathan Cooper

Read on for more about these legal-eagle lovebirds and their delectable résumés.

Jane Kucera and Paul Nitze

The Case:
– Our tour of DC’s young legal elite begins with a wedding officiated by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for whom the bride clerked. Jane — a former Neil Gorsuch clerk who received her undergraduate, master’s, and law degrees from Harvard — is putting her exalted credentials to work at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel — arguably the most prestigious legal office in the Justice Department (though the Solicitor General’s peeps would doubtless disagree).
– Her groom, while not her equal in legal prestige, is certainly no slouch. With degrees from Harvard and Yale Law, he works as a special assistant United States attorney in Baltimore. And he has a proudly DC-centric pedigree as the grandson and namesake of the late Paul H. Nitze, foreign-policy architect and former Secretary of the Navy.

The Case Against:
The groom’s father is a case study in how the DC game is played: start out as the progeny of a big player, do several years in government yourself as deputy assistant undersecretary blah-blah-blah, then depart for the private sector, put all your connections to work, and host glamorous parties in your Georgetown abode. Actually, this is the kind of party the groom’s parents are hosting — and it’s a good reminder that although DC may have seized the reins of power from New York, it lags sadly behind the Big Apple in glamour.

Anne Pierson and Robert Allen
(Buy them a martini pitcher.)

The Case:
– Our second couple may look low-key and unassuming, but don’t be fooled: The only thing you can assume about them is that they’re way smarter than you. Despite meeting and courting Anne at Harvard Law, Bob, an Emory grad, found the time not only to graduate magna cum laude, but also to sit atop the masthead of the Harvard Law Review as its president (SWOON!). Bob went on to clerk on the First Circuit for Michael Boudin and at SCOTUS for Justice Antonin Scalia. In true Scalia-clerk fashion, he’s now at a white-shoe law firm (Kirkland, specifically). And just look at that enormous brain!).
– While Bob makes it rain at Kirkland, Anne, who graduated from the University of Virginia, serves her country in the chief counsel’s office at the Food and Drug Administration.

The Case Against:
– Speaking of the FDA, did you know that it regulates cheese pizza, but USDA regulates pepperoni pizza? And that USDA’s in charge of regular turkey sandwiches, but if you remove the top piece of bread and make it an open-faced sandwich, it becomes the FDA’s responsibility? Ah, Washington. Never change (don’t worry, it won’t).

Kate Heinzelman and Jonathan Cooper
(Buy them an ice cream scoop.)

The Case:
– No less an authority than our own David Lat has called this couple “disgustingly perfect,” and we think you’ll agree. Prepare to be revolted by their flawlessness! We’ll start, as the NYT always does, with the bride. She has both an undergraduate degree, summa, and a JD from Yale. She clerked for Merrick Garland on the DC Circuit and Chief Justice John Roberts at SCOTUS. Now she’s an associate counsel in the White House Counsel’s office.
– The groom has an undergraduate degree (cum laude) and a JD (magna) from Harvard. He clerked on the Seventh Circuit for Frank Easterbrook. (Side note: It’s not typical for NYT write-ups to include past appeals court clerkships. Special treatment for a special couple?) Now he works for the Federal Programs Branch of the Department of Justice.
– The parents of the bride and groom are spectacularly impressive in their own right. Kate’s father, Kris Heinzelman, chairs Cravath’s securities practice. Down in DC, Jonathan’s father is a former partner (now of counsel) at Williams & Connolly, and his mother, Judith Areen, is a law professor (and former dean) at Georgetown.

The Case Against:
– People, assortative mating will be the death of this nation. Fifty years ago, successful male attorneys married their secretaries. Now they marry even more successful female (or male) attorneys. Seriously, when was the last time you heard about a lawyer marrying his secretary? Social scientists are worried that this “‘increased marital sorting’ — high earners marrying high earners and low earners marrying low earners — ‘will significantly increase income inequality'” as cognitive-elite supercouples flock to economically insulated enclaves (like DC) and ruthlessly cement their privileged status and that of their genetically gifted offspring. After all, if class is relative and we want a society where upward mobility isn’t just some fairy tale we tell the drones, downward mobility (for some) has to be a reality as well.

So although LEWW adores gazing upon the mating of the ridiculously credentialed, we beg you elite young lawyers: Consider marrying your secretary (or your Starbucks barista, or whomever) and popping out some merely average kids who will go to state schools, thereby keeping the social fabric intact.

The Verdict:
Obviously a close call here, but the stomach-churning perfection of Team Heinzelman-Cooper carries the day. Congratulations to all our newlyweds!

Honorable Mention:

Mariko Sugimori and Scott Bell (Columbia, Debevoise)
Ceridwen Cherry and David Levine (2, Michigan, Wilmer)
Erin Thompson and Noah Brick (2, Columbia, NYU)
Jessica Karbowski and Neil Weare (2, Yale)
Stephanie Cha and Matthew Barbabella (2, Yale, O’Melveny)
Mallory Jensen and Brian Crist (2, Columbia, Harvard, Cleary)

The Rest:
Catherine Dillard and Daniel Weiner (Fordham)
Pamela Cheng and Conway Chen (Duke)
Elise Aiken and John Dwyer (2, Colorado, Gibson Dunn)
Julie Sauer and Kevin Weber (2, Seton Hall)
Patricia Kuo and Andrew Yew (Berkeley)
Tracy Udell and Cory Zemba (NYU)
Raina Goods and Jarred Archie (Drexel)
Anisha Bhasin and Shantanu Mukherjee (Fordham)
Charles Foster and Grover Hartt III (Texas Tech)
Alexandra DeSorbo and Thomas Quinn (Stanford)
Katharine Rudish and Colin Steele (Fordham)
Stephanie Gates and Philippe Dauman Jr. (Columbia)
Lisa Mueller and Gara LaMarche (Northwestern)
Faye Feller and Michael Lehrman (Cardozo)
Jessica Smith and Willy Friedman (Cardozo)
Anastasia Alt and Joseph Goldschmid (Columbia)
Josh O’Harra and Paul Massey (Georgetown)
Amy Sterner and Carleton Nelson (NYU)
Jacqlyn Rovine and Andrew Harms (2, NYU, Cardozo)
Jessica Marie Krilivsky and Daniel Whitney Jr. (2, Villanova, Widener)
Rebecca Zylberman and Daniel Freeman (Yale)
Allison Pennock and Matthew Danzig (NYU)
Nancy Borowick and Kyle Grimm (Seton Hall)
Kathleen Strand and Robert Kellman (Northwestern)
David Landau and Joshua Picker (Columbia, Covington)
Tali Yahalom and Joshua Leinwand (Columbia)
Maureen Boyle and John Brady (Yale)
Amy Stein and Michael Luxenberg (Pace)
Morgan Galland and Max Rettig (2, Stanford, Latham)

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