Updated date:

What Is the Annual Salary for a Supreme Court Chief Justice?

When I first published this article in 2008, salary for the Chief Justice was around $202,900 per year, while Associate Justices made about $194,200.

Since then cost of living increases have made their estimated salaries for Chief Justice $277,700 and Associate Justice $265,600

Of course, they augment their salaries by doing lectures.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America

Court Group Picture Early 2020

Court Group Picture Early 2020

Supreme Court as of Nov 22, 2020

JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR.-Chief Justice


  • CLARENCE THOMAS
  • AMY CONEY BARRETT
  • STEPHEN G. BREYER
  • SAMUEL A. ALITO, JR.
  • SONIA SOTOMAYOR
  • ELENA KAGAN
  • NEIL M. GORSUCH
  • BRETT M. KAVANAUGH

Retired Justices

  • SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR
  • DAVID H. SOUTER
  • JOHN PAUL STEVENS
  • ANTHONY M KENNEDY

As of March 2016. President Obama nominated Merritt Garland to the Supreme Court, but the Senate did not agree to confirmation hearings. The seat was held open until President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Judge Scalia

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

John Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States

Birth, Early Life and Education:

John Glover Roberts, Jr. was born Jan. 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York. In 1973, Roberts graduated at the top of his high school class from La Lumiere School, a Catholic boarding school in LaPorte, Indiana.

After graduating from high school, Roberts was accepted into Harvard University, earning his tuition by working in a steel mill during the summer. After receiving his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in 1976, Roberts entered Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from law school in 1979.

Legal Experience:

From 1980 to 1981, Roberts served as a law clerk to then-Associate Justice William H.Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court. From 1981 to 1982, he served in the Reagan administration as a Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith. From 1982 to 1986, Roberts served as Associate Counsel to the President Ronald Reagan.

After a brief stint in private practice, Roberts served in the George H. W. Bush administration as Deputy Solicitor General from 1989 to 1992. He returned to private practice in 1992.

Appointment:

On July 19, 2005, Roberts was nominated by President George W. Bush to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the retirement of Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Following the September 3, 2005 death of William H. Rehnquist, Bush withdrew Roberts' nomination as O'Connor's successor, and on September 6, sent the United States Senate notice of Roberts' new nomination to the position of Chief Justice.

Senate Confirmations:

Roberts was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 78-22 on Sept. 29, 2005, and was sworn in hours later by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. Roberts serves as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States and the youngest to hold the post since John Marshall became Chief Justice over two hundred years ago. Roberts received more Senate votes supporting his nomination (78) than any other nominee for Chief Justice in American history.

Personal Life

Roberts is married to the former Jane Marie Sullivan, also an attorney. They have two adopted children, Josephine ("Josie") and Jack Roberts. The Roberts are Roman Catholic and currently live in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, was born in the Pinpoint community of Georgia near Savannah June 23, 1948. He married Virginia Lamp in 1987 and has one child, Jamal Adeen, by a previous marriage. He attended Conception Seminary and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974, and served as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri from 1974-1977, an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977-1979, and Legislative Assistant to Senator John Danforth from 1979-1981. From 1981-1982, he served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and as Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982-1990.

He became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat October 23, 1991.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed on October 15, 1991 by a 52-48 vote.

Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

, Associate Justice,
was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 28, 1972. She married Jesse M. Barrett in 1999, and they have seven children - Emma, Vivian, Tess, John Peter, Liam, Juliet, and Benjamin. She received a B.A. from Rhodes College in 1994 and a J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. She served as a law clerk for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1998 Term. After two years in private law practice in Washington, D.C., she became a law professor, joining the faculty of Notre Dame Law School in 2002. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. President Donald J. Trump nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat on October 27, 2020.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed by the Senate and Sworn in on October 27, 2020..

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court


Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. He married Joanna Hare in 1967, and has three children- Chloe, Nell, and Michael. He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School.

He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965-1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974-1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979-1980. He was an Assistant Professor, Professor of Law, and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, 1967-1994, a Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, 1977-1980, and a Visiting Professor at the College of Law, Sydney, Australia and at the University of Rome.

From 1980-1990, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990-1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990-1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985-1989. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed by a vote of 87-9 on August 2, 1994.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Samuel Alito, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,

Birth, Early Life and Education:

Samuel A. Alito, Jr., was born in April 1950, in Trenton, New Jersey. Alito attended Steinert High School in Hamilton, New Jersey. Alito received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1972 and then attended Yale Law School, where he served as an editor on the Yale Law Journal. Alito earned his J.D. from Yale in 1975.

Following his graduation from Princeton in 1972, Alito was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps and assigned to the Army Reserve. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1975, he was assigned to active duty and attended the Officer Basic Course for Signal Corps officers at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Alito held the rank of Captain when he received an Honorable Discharge in 1980.

Legal Experience Highlights:

From 1977-1980, Alito served as an Assistant U.S Attorney in the appellate division, where he argued cases before the circuit court to which he was later appointed.

From 1981-1985, Alito served as Assistant to the Solicitor General, a position in which he argued 12 cases on behalf of the federal government in the U.S. Supreme Court and he has argued numerous others before the federal courts of appeals.

From 1985-1987, Alito served in the Office of Legal Counsel as Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

From 1987-1989, Alito served as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey where he is best know for prosecuting white collar and environmental crimes, drug trafficking, organized crime, and violations of civil rights.

In 1990, President George H. Bush nominated Judge Alito to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Alito was unanimously confirmed by voice vote by the U.S. Senate.

Appointment:

On October 31, 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Alito to the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, to replace retiring .

Senate Confirmations:

Alito was confirmed by a 58-42 vote of the U.S. Senate on January 31, 2006. Alito serves as the 110th justice appointed to the Supreme Court.

Personal Life

Alito and his wife Martha-Ann live in West Caldwell, New Jersey with their two children: Philip and Laura

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university's highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

,
was born in New York, New York, on April 28, 1960. She received an A.B., summa cum laude, in 1981 from Princeton University. She attended Worcester College, Oxford University, as Princeton’s Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Fellow, and received an M. Phil. in 1983. In 1986, she earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude, where she was supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. She served as a law clerk to Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1986-1987. She served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1987 Term. She worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly, LLP, from 1989-1991. She became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School in 1991 and a tenured professor of law in 1995. From 1995-1999, she was associate counsel to President Clinton and then served as deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. She joined Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 1999 and became professor of law in 2001. She was the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law and was appointed the 11th dean of Harvard Law School in 2003. President Obama nominated her to serve as the 45th Solicitor General of the United States and she was confirmed on March 19, 2009. President Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010, and she assumed this role on August 7, 2010.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice

Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice,
was born in Denver, Colorado, August 29, 1967. He and his wife Louise have two daughters. He received a B.A. from Columbia University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. He served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as a law clerk to Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1995–2005, he was in private practice, and from 2005–2006 he was Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. He served on the Standing Committee on Rules for Practice and Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure. He taught at the University of Colorado Law School. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on April 10, 2017.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice

Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice,
was born in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 1965. He married Ashley Estes in 2004, and they have two daughters - Margaret and Liza. He received a B.A. from Yale College in 1987 and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990. He served as a law clerk for Judge Walter Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1990-1991, for Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1991-1992, and for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1993 Term. In 1992-1993, he was an attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States. From 1994 to 1997 and for a period in 1998, he was Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel. He was a partner at a Washington, D.C., law firm from 1997 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he was Associate Counsel and then Senior Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush. From 2003 to 2006, he was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary for President Bush. He was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on October 6, 2018.

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court-Retired

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, was born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936. He married Mary Davis and has three children. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1961-1963, as well as in Sacramento, California from 1963-1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He has served in numerous positions during his career, including a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961, the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987-1988, and two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities, subsequently renamed the Advisory Committee on Codes of Conduct, from 1979-1987, and the Committee on Pacific Territories from 1979-1990, which he chaired from 1982-1990.

He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat February 18, 1988.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed by a 97-0 vote on Feb 11, 1988

The United States Supreme Court

what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Paul Stevens(Retired)


John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice, was born in Chicago, Illinois, April 20, 1920. He married Maryan Mulholland, and has four children- John Joseph (deceased), Kathryn, Elizabeth Jane, and Susan Roberta.

He received an A.B. from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. He served in the United States Navy from 1942-1945, and was a law clerk to Justice Wiley Rutledge of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1947 Term. He was admitted to law practice in Illinois in 1949. He was Associate Counsel to the Subcommittee on the Study of Monopoly Power of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1951-1952, and a member of the Attorney General's National Committee to Study Antitrust Law, 1953-1955.

He was Second Vice President of the Chicago Bar Association in 1970. From 1970-1975, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. President Ford nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat December 19, 1975.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed by a 99-0 vote. Sworn in on December 19, 1975.


what_is_the_annual_income_for_a_supreme_court_justice

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court David Souter(retired)

David Hackett Souter, Associate Justice, was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, September 17, 1939. He was graduated from Harvard College, from which he received his A.B. After two years as a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, he received an A.B. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University and an M.A. in 1989. After receiving an LL.B. from Harvard Law School, he was an associate at Orr and Reno in Concord, New Hampshire from 1966 to 1968, when he became an Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire. In 1971, he became Deputy Attorney General and in 1976, Attorney General of New Hampshire. In 1978, he was named an Associate Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, and was appointed to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire as an Associate Justice in 1983.


He became a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on May 25, 1990. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat October 9, 1990.

Senate Confirmations

Confirmed by the Senate, 90-9 vote on October 2, 1990. Sworn in on October 9, 1990.

© 2007 Mitch Bolen

Comments

Mitch Bolen (author) from Midwest USA on August 22, 2010:

Judges aren't selected by what states they are from. Most often they are selected by their nominator based on political views, legal opinions, or legal expertise. Unlike the Congress, the people are represented by each member of the court.

Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA on July 08, 2010:

I think these judges get paid too much money. But this is a great article, very interesting. I just recently wrote a hub about how to get the judge to sympathize for you before they state your final fine for a traffic ticket.

joe on January 15, 2009:

Why does the State of California have TWO supreme court justices? Isn't that very unequal and unfair to all the other states?