Here's how much Supreme Court justices get paid
President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Monday. If confirmed, Kavanaugh, 53, will become one of the most powerful and influential people in government for what could be decades, and he’ll lock in a healthy six-figure salary, too.
Kavanaugh currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where judges make $220,600 a year, according to the U.S. Courts website. Associate justices on the Supreme Court make $255,300, while the Chief Justice, currently John Roberts, makes $267,000. These salaries usually increase by $2,000-$3,000 each year.
A seat on the court comes with some desirable benefits. Federal judges have the option to enroll in insurance plans through the Federal Employee Health Benefits system, whose website claims it offers “the widest selection of health plans in the country.” And justices can look forward to a generous retirement package. If they retire at 70 after serving 10 years, or at 65 after serving 15 years, they qualify for an annual pension equal to their highest full salary.
There is also a summer break when court isn’t in session between July and October. It’s not exactly a vacation, as justices use the summer to prepare for cases schedule for the fall, but it is when they do most of their traveling, much of which is subsidized, and when they lecture and teach for extra pay. Former justice Antonin Scalia reported going on 28 separate trips to lecture and teach in 2013, and Clarence Thomas earned more than $27,000 in 2015 for lectures at Brigham Young University, Creighton University and George Washington University.
Justices have other streams of income, too. Stephen Breyer, for example, reported $45,000 in royalties in 2016 from his book, “The Court and the World,” while Sonia Sotomayor has earned millions for her 2013 memoir, “My Beloved World.”
And, of course, some justices invest. When the Supreme Court took a patent case involving Cisco in 2015, Breyer had to sit out because he owns up to $100,000 in Cisco stock.
At least six, and perhaps all, of the sitting Supreme Court justices are millionaires, the Center for Public Integrity found after analyzing 2016 financial disclosures. With an estimated net worth just over $6 million, Breyer is the wealthiest justice, with the possible exception of Gorsuch, since when the report was published Gorsuch had yet to disclose his finances for that year. His 2015 disclosure, however, indicated he was worth between $3.1 million and $7.2 million, the Center reported.
Kavanaugh claimed to have up to $65,000 in assets, which doesn’t necessarily include items such as cars or mortgages, in a recent financial filing, as well $27,500 in non-investment income on top of his salary, reports Money. The house he shares with his wife and two daughters is valued at $1 million.
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