Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist, declining to be bound by a judge who blocked enforcement of a new ethics law, yesterday joined six other members of the Supreme Court in releasing reports on their personal finances.
Burger listed assets of between $600,000 and $730,000 and liabilities of between $100,000 and $20,000. Rehnquist valued his assets at between $10,000 and $35,000 and recorded liabilities of between $15,000 and $50,000. All of the sums exclude the justices' residences, which need not be listed under the Ethics In Government Act of 1978.
Hours before the law's filing deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday, six other members of the court had filed their financial disclosure reports. A seventh, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., who had been ill, previously had obtained a one-month extension. Burger and Rehnquist were planning to meet the deadline.
Before they could do so, however, U.S. Dictrict Court Judge Robert Collins in New Orleans issued a temporary restraining order to prevent clerks of all federal courts-including the clerk of the Supreme Court-from releasing the reports of members of the judiciary and judicial employes.
The order had been sought by six other southern federal judges who, in a lawsuit, claimed that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in requiring members of the judicial branch of government to disclose their wealth and income.
Complying with the order, Supreme Court, clerk Michael Rodak sent word to waiting reporters that the Burger and Rehnquist filings would have to be held up.
Yesterday morning, however, Rehnquist, telling reporters that his wife had suggested he "looked bad," voluntarily released his report. An hour later, Burger did the same. The justices acted independently, said court press officer Barrett McGurn.
The chief justice's report discloses that he and his wife, Elvera S., own stock in Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. with a value, in the words of the official form, "greater than $250,000." They also own stock in the over-$250,000 category in Woodale Hillside, Inc., and shares in Honeywell, Inc., in the range of $15,000 to $50,000.
In addition, Burger reported land holdings in Virginia and Minnesota valued at between $85,000 and $215,000.
Together, the 3M and Honeywell holdings yielded dividends last year of between $6,000 and $17,500. Burger's salary is $75,000, $2,500 more than that of associate justices.
Under liabilities, Burger listed two bank notes, each in the range of $50,000 to $100,000.