How Rich Are the Supreme Court Justices?




US Chief Justice John Roberts (C, front row) p...

The Supreme Court justices are just like you and me. Only richer and more powerful.


We all know Congress tends to be the domain of the wealthy (at last count, 46% of the House  and 54% of the Senate are millionaires). Turns out the Supreme Court is too.

The average sitting Supreme Court justice is worth at least $2 million and possibly as much as $20 million a piece according to annual disclosure statements filed by the nine-member court.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which collects the disclosure forms filed by members of the three political branches and crunches the numbers, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the wealthiest judge on the court and skews that average heavily, with a net worth as high as $45.48 million and as low as $10.7 million.

The wide range is because justices, like senators, congresspeople and the president, are only required to disclosure in what value range their assets and liabilities fall.  Ginsburg’s major assets include money market and tax-free (municipal bond and note) funds with JP Morgan worth between $1 and $5 million each as well as retirement accounts with TIAA-Cref potentially worth as much as $30 million or as low as $6 million, according to a scan of the filing on the Center’s website. The Center crunched the numbers for the fiscal 2009 year filings, filed in 2010. The 2010 disclosures have been filed this year but have not yet been analyzed.

  • Stephen Breyer comes  in second wealthiest with a range of  $4.59 to $10.41 million through an array of investments led by over $100,000 in Treasury bills and bonds.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts is worth between $2.145 and $5.13 million largely in blue chips such as Microsoft, Nokia and Dell.
  • Antonin Scalia is worth $1.25 to $3.01 million. including significant holdings in gold and precious metal funds which certainly have advanced nicely in value since he filed his disclosure.
  • Elena Kagen falls somewhere between $1.08 and $2.59 million in various holdings.

Three justices aren’t millionaires: Samuel AlitoAnthony Kennedy andClarence Thomas are somewhere between $150,000 in net worth and $865,000 according to the Center. The remaining justice, Sonia Sotomayor, was found to possibly have a negative net worth in 2009 by the Center, but that changed in 2010 when she signed a $1.175 million book advance from Knopf publishing.


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