19 June 2913

The Center for Public Integrity has commented on the wealth of United States Supreme Court judges as disclosed in their recent financial disclosures, feigning surprise that the majority are millionnaires. As the disclosure requirement excludes reporting the value of their homes,  calculations of judges “net worth” must be inaccurate.

The pecking order is reported as follows:

(1)  Justice Ginsburg appears to have the highest net worth at $18.1 million

(2)  Justice Breyer is second at $17.1 million.

(3)  Justice Sotomayor is ranked third with her $10.3 million enhanced with book royalties.

(4) Chief Justice Roberts has a net worth up to $6.6 million, ranking him fourth..

The others are assessed to have a worth of between $4.2 million (Justice Scalia) and $330,000 (Justice Kennedy)

The US Supreme Court pays moderately – with the Chief Justice’s salary of US$223,000 and associate Justices earning US$213,900. They are able to enhance that with speaking engagements and writing.  By comparison the salary of the New Zealand Chief Justice is NZ$471,000 and the other Supreme Court Judges earn NZ$442,500.

United States Supreme Court judges have the same remuneration whether they are working or choose to retire. New Zealand has a defined benefit superannuation scheme with the Crown’s annual contribution of up to 33.75% of a judge’s salary.