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US Supreme Court Justices Disclose Bali Trip, Beyonce Tickets and Book Royalties

Details on how the US Supreme Court justices made money last year were released through the court's financial disclosures

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 8, 2024, 12:49:15

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us supreme court justice calerence thomas confirmed luxury trips

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas belatedly confirmed luxury trips with GOP donor Harlan Crow, while new financial disclosures revealed his colleagues last year collected $1.5 million in book income and the singer Beyonce gave Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson a set of concert tickets.

Jackson topped the book list with a $893,750 advance for her yet-to-be published memoir, followed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who reported receiving $340,000 after the court said this week he is working on a “legal memoir.” Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor also reported receiving book income.

Jackson said that singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter gave her four concert tickets valued at $3,712. The newest justice also reported two gifts of artwork for her chambers valued at $12,500.

The disclosures come amid increased scrutiny of the nine justices and their financial dealings, fuelled in large part by reports that Thomas took lavish vacations and private plane flights funded by Crow.

Thomas’ new filing included an amendment to his 2019 disclosure alluding to a cruise in Indonesia aboard Crow’s yacht and a trip with Crow to an exclusive California retreat for men. Thomas said that Crow had covered the cost of food and lodging for one night in Bali, Indonesia, and at least three nights in Monte Rio, California, home of the Bohemian Grove retreat.

Thomas’ disclosure didn’t mention the cruise itself. Propublica (a nonprofit organisation based in New York City dedicated to investigative journalism) revealed the vacation last year, estimating that the cost of the island-hopping trip could have exceeded $500,000.

Thomas said the listed items had been “inadvertently omitted” from his original 2019 report. An analysis released this week by the watchdog group Fix the Court concluded that Thomas has received more than $4 million in gifts since his 1991 confirmation. The group’s calculations include rough estimates of the value of flights aboard private planes.

Thomas disclosed receiving photo albums worth $2,000 from Terence and Barbara Giroux. Terence Giroux was executive director of the Horatio Alger Association, a nonprofit that promotes libertarian ideals and gives college scholarships to low-income students. Thomas is an honorary member of the society’s board of directors.
Justice Samuel Alito, as has become his usual practice, received a 90-day extension to file his report.

Sotomayor earned $1,879 from Fred Rogers Productions for a voiceover performance on an episode of the animated TV show Alma’s Way, which is about a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx and her family.

Three of the justices reported earning extra income from teaching stints at various universities. Gorsuch topped the list with $29,798 in extra income from George Mason University, followed by Kavanaugh, who earned $25,000 from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett also earned $14,947 from Notre Dame Law School. Barrett is writing a book, but didn’t report any income in 2023 after reporting a year ago that she collected $425,000 in 2022.

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