WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas picked up a $500,000 advance for his memoirs, while Antonin Scalia was the court's most frequent flier, with 20 paid trips last year to places like Japan, France, and Italy, financial reports released yesterday showed.
Each year justices must report their assets, including gifts and earnings, and some details of the reimbursements they receive for travel.
The new reports are for 2003 and showed at least five of the nine justices are millionaires: Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter, and John Paul Stevens.
Thomas, traditionally among the least wealthy of the justices, hit pay dirt last year when his autobiography prompted a bidding war among publishers. The book, expected next year, will cover his childhood in segregated Georgia and his account of the bitter 1991 confirmation fight. The advance is more than 2 times the justice's annual salary of $194,000.
Not counting the book advance, Thomas trailed all but one colleague, with reported assets of less than $410,000.
Thomas was one of three who wrote books on the side.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, author of a new historical book on the disputed presidential election of 1876, received a $25,000 advance and more than $10,000 in royalties. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has written two books in the past two years, received about $10,000.
O'Connor also was reimbursed for 18 trips, to such locations as Serbia-Montenegro and Bahrain -- a number topped only by Scalia's 20.
Part of Scalia's travel stemmed from teaching jobs that earned him an extra $23,000 in spots like Nice, France, and Oxford, Miss. He also participated in ''Seminars in Christian Leadership" at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and spoke in Philadelphia to the Urban Family Council, a group founded by an opponent of same-sex marriages.
By contrast, the court's most reclusive member, Souter, reported no trips, gifts, or extra income. And Stevens was reimbursed for just one trip, to his hometown of Chicago, for a speech.
The reports do not include information about two recent trips that have generated controversy: Scalia's January hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney to Louisiana and Rehnquist's trip to Ohio in May on a corporate jet owned by a utility company to attend a legal function. The Ohio Supreme Court was reimbursing American Electric Power for the trip.
The financial holdings that justices report also do not include their homes and some other accounts. Their exact net worth is unclear because the justices report ranges of income.
A bank merger made Souter one of the wealthiest. He listed bank holdings and stocks worth between $5.2 million and $25.5 million in 2003. Ginsburg, in years past the wealthiest justice by far, had assets worth between $5.6 million and $23.4 million. Breyer showed investments and holdings worth between more than $4 million and about $15 million.
O'Connor listed holdings worth between $2.9 million and about $6 million, and Stevens cited holdings worth between $1.6 million and $3.4 million. Scalia's retirement accounts and stock holdings were worth between $710,000 and $1.3 million, and Rehnquist's holdings were between $530,000 and $1.2 million.
Rounding out the nine were Thomas, with listed assets between $210,000 to $410,000; and Anthony M. Kennedy with bank accounts and life insurance policies worth between $75,000 and $180,000.