Disclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances

Disclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances
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Disclosure forms released Thursday offer a narrow glimpse into the Supreme Court justices’ finances and income.

The financial disclosure forms for 2018, which the Supreme Court does not make publicly available online, were obtained and distributed by the group Fix the Court. While the documents show the outside positions each justice holds and how much income they earned from them, they provide few other details.

The forms indicate that Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchThe executive branch's job is to enforce laws, not make them Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Here's how senators can overcome their hyperpartisanship with judicial nominees MORE received a $225,000 advance from Penguin Random House, which is publishing his new book to be released in the fall.

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Gorsuch also reported $782.55 in other book royalties, and Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerTrump Justice Department to resume federal executions Liberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens How much do you know about your government? A July 4 civics quiz  MORE earned $4,415.69 in book royalties. Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorHere's how senators can overcome their hyperpartisanship with judicial nominees Trump pays respects to late Justice Stevens at Supreme Court Supreme Court rules against Trump on census citizenship question MORE also reported a total of $33,000 from Penguin Random House, which has published several books by her.

Many of the justices also reported income from teaching positions they have at law schools: Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasWhat to know about the fight over Trump's tax returns Liberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Harris walks back support for eliminating private insurance | Missouri abortion clinic to remain open through August | Georgia sued over 'heartbeat' abortion law MORE, for example, reported income from teaching at George Washington University as well as the Universities of Kansas and Georgia. Chief Justice John Roberts, Sotomayor and Breyer did not hold teaching positions in 2018, according to the forms.

The documents also indicate that the justices were reimbursed by several organizations for traveling to different events. While the forms show the number of reimbursements and provide a brief description, they do not show how much money the justices received.

Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg defends conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch Ginsburg dismisses court packing and term limits for Supreme Court justices Ginsburg says she hopes to serve on bench 'as long as' Stevens did MORE reported the most reimbursements, with 14 in total. Several of the trips were for films about her: The documentary “RBG” and the movie “On the Basis of Sex” were both released in 2018.

Breyer came in second with 12 reimbursements, and Justice Elena KaganElena KaganTrump pays respects to late Justice Stevens at Supreme Court Kagan: I will 'never accept' Supreme Court's ruling on partisan gerrymandering Liberal, conservative Supreme Court justices unite in praising Stevens MORE reported seven reimbursements.

Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoOvernight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief Trump pays respects to late Justice Stevens at Supreme Court MORE was reimbursed six times, including for travel to a pair of conferences in Italy and Switzerland.

Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughThe exhaustion of Democrats' anti-Trump delusions Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' MORE, the newest member of the court, was sworn in in October 2018. He reported seven positions outside the court for that year, including coaching three girls basketball teams.

Fix the Court, which advocates for more transparency within the judicial system, criticized the lack of information on the forms, and for investments some of the justices hold that could present potential conflicts of interest.

The group noted in a press release that Alito has ownership in 27 companies, Breyer owned shares in eight companies and Roberts had shares in five.

That’s a total of 40 companies that the members of the Supreme Court have ownership in, down from 73 companies at the end of 2014, according to Fix the Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, and Justice Anthony Kennedy retired last year.

“Once again, the justices took dozens of trips across the country and around the world last year in which a third party paid for their dining, airfare and accommodations, with the public left in the dark about how lavish these trips may have been,” Fix the Court’s executive director Gabe Roth said in a statement.

“Just as top officials in other branches are required to list the market value of their food, flights and hotels when they travel on someone else's dime, the justices should have a similar requirement, so that the public can better determine whether an outside source is attempting to buy influence.”

Roberts earns $267,000 as chief justice, while the other members of the court take home salaries of $255,300.