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Thomas, Scalia report big book earnings in 2008

Mark Sherman

Justice Clarence Thomas took in more than $300,000 in royalties for his autobiography last year, far more than he earned as a member of the Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia received nearly $100,000 for his new book.

Thomas now has made roughly $1.5 million from "My Grandfather's Son," the 2007 book that traces his rise to the court from his roots in rural Georgia.

Scalia is the co-author of "Making Your Case," a book on legal advocacy that was published last year.

The justices' earnings from their books were part of annual financial disclosures released Friday. They show, in the main, a wealthy group serving on the nation's highest court.

Justice Stephen Breyer also reported collecting $54,821 in royalties from Random House, which published his 2005 book "Active Liberty."

Breyer, who has had to step aside from cases at the court because of his investments, also got rid of a dozen stocks last year from an investment portfolio worth anywhere from $2.5 million to $9 million. Breyer sold his shares in Bank of America Corp., Colgate-Palmolive Co., PepsiCo Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., and other companies throughout the year, including during the stock market's steep dive in the fall.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, who reduced their stock holdings in prior years, did not report shedding any investments last year.

Justice David Souter, who is retiring in the coming weeks, liquidated his substantial holdings in the Chittenden Corp. when it was purchased last year by People's United Bank. Souter sold $5 million to $25 million in Chittenden stock and put that money into U.S. Treasury bills and bank certificates of deposit.

Roberts earned $217,400 in salary last year. The other justices made $208,100.

In addition to Breyer and Souter, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens, Roberts and Scalia all reported assets worth more than $1 million, even with the economic downturn.

Thomas added $333,334 in royalties from his book and another $25,830 for teaching at the University of Georgia, New York University and Pepperdine University.

Even with the added income, Thomas is among the least well-off of his colleagues. He reported a net worth in the range of $150,000 to $410,000, with a retirement account worth no more than $250,000 as his top holding. Justice Anthony Kennedy also has relatively modest holdings.

Four justices — Ginsburg, Kennedy, Roberts and Scalia — said they resigned honorary club memberships in response to a change in federal law. Congress last year restricted federal judges from accepting a gift of a club membership worth more than $50 a year.

The four justices gave up their memberships at the University Club of Washington, D.C.

They also reported resigning honorary memberships at these clubs:

_ Ginsburg at the City Tavern Club in Washington and the Lotos Club in New York, although she said she now is a dues-paying member of the Lotos Club.

_ Kennedy at the Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, Calif., and the Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington, Va.

_ Roberts at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainsville, Va.

_ Scalia at the Washington Golf and Tennis Club.

Stevens listed honorary memberships, but did not report resigning, at the Coral Ridge Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the Union League Club of Chicago, the Ulen Golf and Country Club in Lebanon, Ind., and the Washington Golf and Country Club.


Associated Press writer Jesse J. Holland contributed to this report.

The Associated Press