Financial disclosure forms reveal justices’ trips, teaching gigs, other expenses

Besides their day jobs, the justices of the Supreme Court last year were frequent travelers, rewarded authors, sought-after teachers — and landlords.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on Friday released the justices’ financial disclosures — on paper, at the office’s headquarters, $18 for copies of the set — after the justices turned them in about a month ago.

The disclosures are intended to inform the public about the justices’ net worth, investments, outside income and who pays for the trips they take and the gifts they receive.

(None were specific about that last one. “During 2013, many people sent me gifts of books, art, jewelry and memorabilia,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote on her report. “I have no reason to believe that any of those items exceeded the $350 limit.”)

The justices earn an annual salary of $244,400 — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. receives an extra $11,100 for the additional duties he takes on — and they are allowed to supplement with teaching income and what they make as authors.

Sotomayor in previous filings has reported advances of millions of dollars for her best-selling memoir “My Beloved World,” but said she received no royalties in 2013.

Justice Antonin Scalia, on the other hand, reported nearly $77,000 in earnings from his most recent book. Justice Stephen G. Breyer reported $11,000 in royalties.

All four of those justices are among the six who reported rental income — Justices Clarence Thomas and Elena Kagan are the others.

Breyer’s came from the vacation home in Nevis, West Indies, where he and his wife were robbed by a machete-wielding intruder in 2012. Roberts reported receiving $719 — he owns one-eighth of a cottage in Knocklong, County Limerick, Ireland.

All but Sotomayor reported at least one trip outside the country, and all but Breyer reported income from teaching. Most combined the two.

Roberts, for instance, was paid $20,000 by the New England School of Law to teach a course on the history of the Supreme Court last summer in Prague. Tulane Law School paid Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a precise $17,308.30 to teach summer seminars in Paris.

Two of the justices reported spousal income, although listing the amount is not required. Jane Roberts is a headhunter for Major, Lindsey & Africa, an attorney search consulting firm. Virginia Lamp Thomas was paid by the Daily Caller and Liberty Consulting.

Scalia was the court’s most frequent traveler, reporting nearly 30 trips around the country and the world. Most were paid for by law schools or legal groups; the Federalist Society was his most frequent benefactor.

A group of organizations called the Coalition for Court Transparency has called for the justices to release their disclosures online, as is done by the president, vice president and members of Congress. They and other groups quickly posted the forms after they were released Friday afternoon.

Robert Barnes has been a Washington Post reporter and editor since 1987. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006.
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