The three Supreme Court justices who own individual securities shed up to $360,000 from their portfolios last year, while Justice Gorsuch pocketed up to $500,000 from selling his Colorado vacation home, and Justice Sotomayor netted $117,500 in book advances, according to the court’s 2017 financial disclosure reports released today.
Chief Justice Roberts sold up to $50,000 in Hill-Rom Holdings, up to $15,000 in Hillenbrand and up to $15,000 in Nokia; Justice Breyer sold up to $100,000 in Cisco, up to $50,000 in Air Products & Chemical and up to $15,000 in Versum Materials; and Justice Alito sold up to $100,000 in C.R. Bard and up to $15,000 in Schlumberger while making the only high court securities purchase of 2017, up to $15,000 in Becton Dickinson.
All told, Roberts, Breyer and Alito owned shares in 44 companies at the end of 2017, compared to 50 companies at the end of 2016, 57 companies at the end of 2015 and 73 companies at the end of the 2014.
“Each year, dozens of publicly traded companies petition the Supreme Court, and in roughly 50 instances annually, a justice will own shares in a petitioner, meaning he must recuse from the case and hope an even-numbered court can find a resolution,” FTC executive director Gabe Roth said. “Luckily, only three justices own individual stocks, and they’ve slowly begun selling them off. But if savings accounts and retirement funds are good enough for two-thirds of the justices, then these types of investments, which almost never yield recusals, should be fine for all nine.”
In addition to their various and varied investments and their quarter-million-dollar salary, nearly every justice maintained an outside source of income. Chief Justice Roberts earned $20,000 for teaching in Australia and New Zealand; Justice Kennedy earned $12,500 for teaching in Austria; Justice Thomas earned $27,765 for teaching in Nebraska, Virginia and D.C.; Justice Ginsburg earned the same amount for teaching in Italy and California; Breyer earned $4,765 in book royalties; Alito earned $27,765 for teaching in Italy and North Carolina; Kagan earned $17,500 for teaching in Massachusetts; and Gorsuch earned $9,020 in book royalties and $2,600 for teaching in Colorado ahead of his April 2017 SCOTUS appointment.
Sotomayor is currently writing two books for which she received the advances: one is a tween adaption of “My Beloved World,” and the other will chronicle some of the books that have most impacted her life.
Gorsuch and partners sold their 2,923-sq.-ft. central Colorado property that sits on 40 acres and whose registered agent – it’s called Walden Group LLC in filings – is the COO of the Anschutz Investment Co., an association for which he came under fire during his confirmation hearings.
Also of note is that Ginsburg, whose public profile continues to rise, took the most reimbursed trips among the justices with 13.
Today marks just the second time since the Ethics in Government Act went into effect in Oct. 1978 that the justices’ disclosures were distributed for free and via anything other than paper – in this case, thumb drives. Since its founding in Nov. 2014, FTC has urged the judiciary to digitize the reports.
Here is a list of the companies owned by the justices as of Dec. 31, 2017:
– Roberts (7 cos.): Lam Research, Sirius XM, Texas Instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific, TIME Inc., Time-Warner, Charter Communications
– Breyer (9 cos.): ADP, Applied Analysis, Cintas, Fastenal, Lowe’s, Paccar, Pearson, Sysco, UTC
– Alito (28 cos.): 3M, Abbott Labs, Abbvie, AES, Becton Dickinson, BHP Biliton, Black Hills, Boeing, Caterpillar, CDK Global, ConocoPhillips, DowDuPont, Fortis, Jacobs Engineering, Johnson & Johnson, L’Occitane, Merck, MolsonCoors, Mondelez, OGE Energy, Oracle, Parker Hannifin, Phillips 66, PNC, Procter & Gamble, Sealed Air, TJ Maxx, UTC