If Amy Coney Barrett Is Confirmed, Will She Be the Richest Supreme Court Justice?

·9 min read
If Amy Coney Barrett Is Confirmed, Will She Be the Richest Supreme Court Justice?

Amy Coney Barrett, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, is currently in the midst of her Supreme Court confirmation process. Barrett was nominated for the justice role in late September by President Donald Trump following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Although Democrats had pushed to delay the nomination process until after the presidential election, it seems likely that Barrett will be confirmed before Nov. 3.

Becoming a member of the Supreme Court is a remarkable achievement — there are only nine of them — and it also pays well, as far as government jobs go. For 2020, the annual salary for associate justices is $265,600, and Chief Justice John Roberts earns $277,700. But a six-figure salary is just a small part of the financial picture for Supreme Court justices, most of whom have a net worth in the millions.

GOBankingRates calculated the net worth of the eight current justices — plus Barrett — based on their 2019 financial disclosure reports, which list the value of their assets and liabilities. Barrett’s net worth was sourced from a complete statement of net worth outlining her exact assets and liabilities that she filed for her nomination. Since the figures are given in a range and are not exact, each justice’s lowest-possible and highest-possible net worth has been calculated. See how wealthy they all are and how they’ve made their money.

Last updated: Oct. 15, 2020

9. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh

  • Net worth: $15,000 to $65,000

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate as a member of the Supreme Court in October 2018 after being nominated by President Trump to replace Anthony Kennedy, who retired. He previously served as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the District of Columbia, confirmed in 2006 after being nominated by former President George W. Bush. Prior to that position, he worked in the Bush White House, serving as senior associate counsel, assistant to the president and staff secretary.

How Brett Kavanaugh Earned His Wealth

Outside of his earnings as a Supreme Court justice, Kavanaugh earns money as a law professor. He has a three-year contract with the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University as a visiting professor of law, for which he earned $12,500 in 2019, according to his financial disclosure report.

Kavanaugh’s assets include Bank of America accounts and a 401(k).

8. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

  • Net worth: $850,010 to $1.9 million

Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President George H.W. Bush to replace the retiring Thurgood Marshall and was confirmed by the Senate in October 1991. Like Kavanaugh, he previously served as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Thomas also held prior positions that included assistant attorney general for Jefferson City, Missouri; assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education; and chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Thomas is the longest-serving justice on the current Supreme Court.

How Clarence Thomas Earned His Wealth

Thomas supplements his Supreme Court earnings with regular teaching jobs. In 2019, he taught at the Scalia Law School, Creighton Law School and the George Washington University School of Law. According to his 2019 financial disclosure paperwork, his assets include multiple IRA and certificate of deposit accounts as well as a rental property.

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7. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

  • Net worth: $990,014 to $5.96 million

Sonia Sotomayor has served on a federal bench since 1992, when former President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 1998, she became a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit following her nomination by former President Bill Clinton. Former President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor for the Supreme Court in June 2009, and she was confirmed by the Senate in August of that year. She replaced David Souter, who retired.

How Sonia Sotomayor Earned Her Wealth

Sotomayor also writes books. She has authored four, including her autobiography entitled “My Beloved World” and the children’s book “Just Ask!” In 2019, she earned more than $20,000 in book royalties, according to her financial disclosure report.

Sotomayor’s assets include multiple IRA accounts, a rental property in New York City — worth between $1,000,001 and $5 million — and several investment funds.

6. Associate Justice Elena Kagan

  • Net worth: $1.32 million to $3.06 million

In 2010, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the Supreme Court. Her previous roles include serving as associate counsel for former President Clinton and as the dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009. She filled the Supreme Court seat vacated by John Paul Stevens.

How Elena Kagan Earned Her Wealth

Kagan taught at Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 2019, for which she was paid $17,500, according to her financial disclosure report. Her assets include a mix of investment funds, money market accounts and a rental property in Washington, D.C., that brings in between $15,001 and $50,000 annually.

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5. Nominee Amy Coney Barrett

  • Net worth: $2.24 million

Amy Coney Barrett is a federal appellate judge and Notre Dame law professor. Barrett was a law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia and was a finalist for the Supreme Court spot that went to Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. She was nominated on Sept. 26 by President Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18.

 

How Amy Coney Barrett Earned Her Wealth

Barrett’s current sources of income are her circuit court appointment and her adjunct professor role at the Notre Dame Law School. She has been teaching at the school since 2002 and has served as a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals since 2017.

As part of her nomination proceedings, Barrett submitted a complete statement of net worth outlining her exact assets and liabilities. According to the filing, her largest asset is a Vanguard Institutional Target Retirement fund worth nearly $850,000. Her personal residence is worth roughly $519,000, and she has a mortgage for about $103,000.

4. Associate Justice Samuel Alito

  • Net worth: $2.44 million to $6.46 million

Samuel Alito was nominated to serve as an associate justice for the Supreme Court of the United States by former President George W. Bush on Nov. 10, 2005; he was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 31, 2006, to replace the retired Sandra Day O’Connor. He previously had been nominated by former President George H.W. Bush to serve as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a position he held from 1990 to 2006. He also served as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

How Samuel Alito Earned His Wealth

In addition to his Supreme Court role, Alito served as a visiting faculty member at the Duke University Law School in 2019. According to his financial disclosure report, his assets include several investment funds and accounts, a Roth IRA, a traditional IRA and mineral interests in Oklahoma.

3. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch

  • Net worth: $3.32 million to $7.79 million

Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in April 2017; he was nominated by President Trump to fill the seat that opened upon the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016. His previous experience includes being a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, as well as serving as principal deputy to the associate attorney general and acting associate attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice.

How Neil Gorsuch Earned His Wealth

Gorsuch earned more as an author than as a Supreme Court justice in 2019. While the 2019 salary for an associate justice was $258,900, Gorsuch made more than $330,000 from book royalty income and payment to record an audiobook for his upcoming biography, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” which is due out in September.

Gorsuch’s assets include multiple brokerage accounts, two 529 plans, a Senate Credit Union account and several IRAs.

2. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer

  • Net worth: $6.67 million to $17.2 million

In 1980, former President Jimmy Carter nominated Stephen Breyer to serve as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He served as chief judge for that federal court from 1990 to 1994, when he was nominated by former President Bill Clinton to join the Supreme Court. Upon his confirmation, he replaced Harry Blackmun, who retired.

Prior to his federal judicial service, Breyer held numerous other positions. Included in his many jobs were service in the U.S. Army, professor at Harvard Law School and chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

How Stephen Breyer Earned His Wealth

Similar to some of his Supreme Court colleagues, Breyer is a published author. His books include “The Court and the World,” “Making Our Democracy Work” and “Active Liberty.” Outside of his Supreme Court salary and book royalties, Breyer has a number of assets that add to his wealth, including an IRA account, other investment holdings, a rental property in the West Indies worth between $250,001 and $500,000 and land in Plainfield, New Hampshire, also worth between $250,001 and $500,000, according to his 2019 financial disclosure report.

1. Chief Justice John Roberts

  • Net worth: $7.19 million to $20.85 million

John Roberts has served as chief justice of the Supreme Court since September 2005; he was nominated by former President George W. Bush following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Just two years earlier, Roberts became a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after another Bush nomination.

Roberts previously was associate counsel for former President Ronald Reagan and currently is the chairman of the board for the Federal Judicial Center.

How John Roberts Earned His Wealth

Roberts, who spent 13 years in private law practice, has a number of stock holdings, including shares of Texas Instruments and Sirius XM. He also has numerous bank accounts and investment funds. His most valuable assets are Capital One bank accounts containing between $1,000,001 and $5 million and a Vanguard growth fund with a value between $1,000,001 and $5 million.

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