WASHINGTON — Being a Supreme Court justice has not only been good for Sonia Sotomayor’s legal career, it’s also helped her bank account.
The justice reported Friday that she’s received more than $3 million in advance payments for her best-selling memoir, “My Beloved World.”
Her annual financial disclosure forms show that Knopf Doubleday Group paid Sotomayor $1.925 million in 2012 in anticipation of her book. This comes in addition to the $1.2 million in advance payments she received from the publisher in 2010.
The book was first released in January and has been on the New York Times’ nonfiction best-seller list, including four weeks in the No. 1 spot.
The 58-year-old justice, who was the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court and President Barack Obama’s first high court nominee, has traveled the country this year promoting her memoir, but any royalties and speaker fees won’t show up until future disclosure forms.
Her newfound wealth contrasted with her more austere lifestyle before joining the Supreme Court. In her first financial disclosure form, Sotomayor reported she was making payments on thousands of dollars in dental bills and credit cards bills with bank accounts worth no more than $65,000.
But in just the past year or so, following the publication of her book, Sotomayor has palled around with Hollywood stars like Oprah Winfrey, bought a new home in Washington’s fashionable U Street district and received gifts of books, art, jewelry and “trinkets” from fans, more than two years after her confirmation in front of the Senate. She also reported having more than $1 million in a bank account and credit card debt of as much as $60,000 last year.
Sotomayor isn’t the only justice to have book-related finances reported in their disclosure forms. Justice Antonin Scalia reported $63,991 in book royalties following the June 2012 publication of his “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” which was co-authored with Bryan A. Garner. Justice Stephen Breyer also reported that he made more than $30,000 in royalties in 2012 for his previous books.
Justice Clarence Thomas reported on his disclosure form that his wife, Virginia, worked for The Daily Caller and Liberty Consulting Inc., and got salaries from both. Thomas neglected to include his wife’s employment, as required, on the report of his personal finances for 13 years, requiring him to submit corrected ones in 2011. The annual report asks only for the source, not the amount, of money earned by a spouse.
Breyer reported his wife, Joanna, got a salary for working at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he serves as an honorary trustee, and Chief Justice John Roberts reported his wife, Jane, got a salary from legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in addition to picking up the honor of being one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, also scored what the magazine called “the best goody bag of the year,” filled with things that the justice estimated at about $2,500: a MZ Wallace tote, a Vince Camuto watch, oversize Marc Jacobs sunglasses, a silk Theodora & Callum wrap, an Autumn Cashmere sweater and other makeup and jewelry pieces, including an $80 statement necklace that Ginsburg wore to court at least once over her black robe.
And several justices reported salaries from teaching at colleges and universities. Roberts got $20,000 for teaching a Supreme Court history course at the New England School of Law in Malta last summer. Thomas received $10,000 for teaching at George Washington University. Scalia got more than $26,000 for teaching at St. John’s University, St. Mary’s University, Wesleyan University, the University of Southern California and John Marshall Law School.
Scalia also reported receiving a $1,000 shotgun from the National Wild Turkey Federation as a gift.
Justice Samuel Alito received an extension until August to file his disclosure form.
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