How Rich Are The Supreme Court Justices?

By on February 13, 2016 in ArticlesCelebrity News

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is made up of an impressive bunch of people, to say the least. But have you ever wondered how much you make for this esteemed appointment? But, don't forget to take into account the justice's outside projects. For instance, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has made millions of dollars from her bestselling book "My Beloved World" – but don't go assuming she is the richest Supreme Court Judge, because she's not.

The Center for Public Integrity recently released their annual report on the wealth of the justices, showing that at least five members of the Supreme Court are millionaires. And, lucky ducks that they are, only two judges have any consumer debt at all. The forms that the justices are required to fill out and disclose report income and assets in a range rather than an exact number. This makes it pretty hard to say exactly how much each justice is worth. However, it's clear that none of them are exactly hurting for money.

In case you were curious, the justice's salaries range from $255,500 a year for Chief Justice Roberts to $244,400 per year for the associate justices. Without breaking conflict of interest laws, their incomes can be enhanced by book royalties, public speaking gigs, and private law firms. But in order to stay completely unbiased, each justice is required to place their money in a blind trust. Let's take a look at how the net worth ranges of the nine Supreme Court Justices stack up:


1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: $4.4 million to $18.1 million

Justice Ginsberg tops the list of wealthy judges due in large part to the estate of her late husband Martin, who was a well-known tax lawyer. Prior to his death, Ginsburg listed assets of $45 million, but estate tax and the terms of her husband's will, as well as potential charitable giving have reduced that sum significantly.

2. Stephen G. Breyer: $5 million to $17.1 million

Unlike other justices, Justice Breyer spent his pre-Supreme Court career in academia and government – two fields not known for huge paychecks like the ones his colleagues who spent time in Biglaw had. Breyer's wealth is from his wife, Joanna Freda Hare, who is British aristocracy.

3. Sonia Sotomayor: $1.7 million to $10.3 million

Justice Sotomayor's net worth does not take into account her DC condo, which is her primary residence and worth $660,000. Her New York apartment in Greenwich Village that she rents out is factored in. The NYC apartment is listed in the $1-5 million range. She also has all the book royalty money padding her bank account nicely.

4. John G. Roberts Jr.: $2.8 million to $6.6 million

The Chief Justice can increase his net worth due to his private practice gig at Hogan and Hartson (since renamed Hogan Lovells). He also gets some help from his spouse Jane Sullivan Roberts who is a big time legal recruiters. Roberts is also a savvy investor focusing on technology and telecommunications stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

5. Antonin Scalia: $1.9 million to $4.2 million

Justice Scalia has investments in gold and firearms—making him pretty much a Conservative's wet dream. His gold related investments are worth between $80,000 and $215,000. Scalia received a gift from the National Wild Turkey Federation in the form of a $1,000 shotgun.

6. Elena Kagan: $815,000 to $2.1 million

Justice Kagan's net worth is probably closer to the high end of the range, as when she was nominated to the highest court in the land, she was worth $1.8 million.

7. Clarence Thomas: $715,000 to $1.8 million

Justice Thomas is also a fan of precious metals. He has gold and silver related securities worth between $60,000 and $200,000. He also had a bestselling memoir several years back, "My Grandfather's Son" for which he received an advance of $1.5 million dollars.

8. Samuel A. Alito J.: $380,000 to $1.1 million (based on his 2011 report; he has sought an extension as to 2012)

Back in 2006, Justice Alito was worth between $650,000 and $1.7 million and it is assumed that the tumble in his net worth may be due to the sales and/or purchases of real estate.

9. Anthony M. Kennedy: $330,000 to $700,000

Justice Kennedy comes in as the poorest Judge on the Supreme Court. Of course this figure doesn't include the value of his $1.1 million dollar house in the tony Langley area of McLean, Virginia, mere blocks from Justice Scalia's place.

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction