With the United States Supreme Court dominating the news cycle, it made me wonder how much a Supreme Court Justice makes per year. Since appointees don’t have to deal with elections every two to four years, it seems like a pretty nice gig.
Based on the United States Courts website, which shows you annual salaries dating back to 1968, the average salary for a Supreme Court justice is $255,300. The Chief Justice, currently John roberts, earns a bit north of $267,000. Each justice enjoys a $2,000 – $3,000 raise each year.
The base salary doesn’t include the various perks that only the judges of the highest court in the land can pull in, including Federal Employee Health Benefits, which the website says is “the widest selection of health plans in the country.” The retirement plan, which they are eligible for after 10 or 15 years of service (depending on their age when they retire) entitles them to an annual pension equal to whatever their highest annual salary was during their career.
If you aren’t already contemplating a career change, you should also consider the lengthy break between July and October, when the Supreme Court isn’t in session. You read that right… justices enjoy the equivalent of a summer vacation. Justices make extra through teaching and speaking arrangements.
To give you an example, Justice Clarence Thomas earned over $27,000 from lectures given during summer break at schools such as Brigham Young University, Creighton University, and George Washington University.
If you were able to get appointed to the highest court, writing a book is a great option. Stephen Breyer earned over $45,000 in royalties for his 2016 book The Court and the World, and Sonia Sotomayor made millions from her own more popular book My Beloved World in 2013.
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.