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 last April that Justice Barrett had sold a book about how judges must remain neutral for a $2 million advance.
There is no law limiting how much justices can make from book publications, and numerous justices have written books on their background and judicial philosophy.
Neil Gorsuch, who joined the bench in 2017, reported $250,000 in earnings from publisher HarperCollins in 2021. Politico reported Thursday that Gorsuch has signed a deal with the company to write a new book on judicial and regulatory policy. Gorsuch published a book with Penguin Random House in 2019 titled A Republic, If You Can Keep It, and reported earning $325,000 in 2019 and $100,000 in 2020 in royalty income from the publisher.
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.
This book income is in addition to a base salary of $268,300 in 2021 for the eight Associate Justices and $280,500 for Chief Justice John Roberts.
Justices are legally limited to not earn more than roughly $30,000 for outside teaching. Several justices earned close to that in 2021. Clarence Thomas reported earning $29,595 from George Washington University School of Law and University of Notre Dame combined, Gorsuch earned $26,541 from George Mason University, Brett Kavanaugh made $25,541 from George Mason, and Barrett made $14,280 from University of Notre Dame, where she was previously a professor.
Samuel Alito’s disclosures have not yet been released, and the Washington Post reported that court officials said he filed for an extension. The Supreme Court did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.
The 2021 financial disclosures, published online by the court reform advocacy organization Fix the Court, come during a period of heightened scrutiny on 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. The law also mandates that judges and Justices follow the same financial disclosure rules as Congress, which require them to file transaction reports. The new law will take effect by the time the Justices release their financial disclosures next year.
The latest financial disclosures were released within weeks of when the Justices are expected to rule on one of the most anticipated Supreme Court cases in a generation, 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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