Supreme Court Justices’ Incomes Revealed in New Reports
New financial-disclosure reports released Thursday reveal how much the U.S. Supreme Court Justices made last year—and show that some of them were able to add six figures to their salaries through lucrative book deals.
Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court’s newest member, reported in her 2021 disclosure that she received $425,000 last year from the Javelin Group, a literary agent, in book royalties. Politico reported that Justice Barrett sold her book on how judges should remain neutral, for $2 million.
It is not a law that restricts how much justices can publish books, but many justices have published books on their history and judicial philosophy.
Neil Gorsuch was appointed to the bench in 2017. He reported earning $250,000 per year from HarperCollins by 2021. Politico published Thursday’s report that Gorsuch had signed a contract with HarperCollins for the publication of a new book regarding judicial or regulatory policy. Gorsuch co-authored a book in partnership with Penguin Random House entitled “The Law and the People.” A Republic, If You Can Keep ItThe publisher reported that he earned $325,000 in 2019, and $100,000 in 2020, in royalties income.
Sonia Sotomayor—who the Washington Post reports has disclosed more than $3.3 million in book payments since 2010—reported earning $115,593 in book royalties from Penguin Random House last year, with whom she has released multiple children’s books.
The book income comes in addition to the $268,300 base salary in 2021 for each of the Associate Justices, and $280,000.50 for Chief Justice John Roberts.
Outside teaching is not allowed to earn justices more than about $30,000, which is legally restricted. Many justices were close to earning that amount in 2021. Clarence Thomas earned $29,595 combined from George Washington University School of Law & University of Notre Dame. Brett Kavanaugh received $25,541 and Gorsuch took home $26,541 at George Mason University. Barrett was paid $14,280 by University of Notre Dame.
Samuel Alito’s disclosures have not yet been released, and the Washington Post Reports claim that officials at the Supreme Court said that he applied for an extension. The Supreme Court did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.
Fix the Court published the 2021 financial disclosures online. This comes during increased scrutiny of Supreme Court ethics reforms. On May 13, President Joe Biden signed a law that will increase financial disclosure requirements for federal judges and Supreme Court Justices going forward, mandating a creation of an online database where the public can search federal judges’ and Supreme Court Justices’ financial disclosures. It also requires judges and justices to follow the same financial reporting rules as Congress. This means that they must submit transaction reports. When the Justices publish their financial disclosures next spring, the new law will be in effect.
Just weeks before the Justices will rule on the case that is most anticipated by the Supreme Court, the financial disclosures have been made. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, after an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion in the case written by Alito showed the Supreme Court poised to overturn the constitutional right to abortion access enshrined in 1973’s Roe V. Wade
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