How Much Does a Supreme Court Justice Make? This is one huge question many people in the nation would like to know. Whether you love law and one day hope to aspire to be one of the top judges in the United States. Or you want to know how much the taxpayers are paying the top judges in the land.
We are here to give the answer to this question and more, with the best and most up-to-date information! Learn how much the highest level of judges are paid in the United States.
What is a Supreme Court Justice
Clearly over the entrance to the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. reads the following saying “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW”. This is the motto that the Supreme Court abides by. This is the highest tribunal court within the United States. They are responsible for overseeing all cases and matters relating to the Constitution or the laws of the United States. They make the final determination regarding these matters to ensure law is being properly applied across the courts in the U.S.
The Supreme Court is made up of a panel of twelve judges. One from each of the eleven circuit courts and one from the District of Columbia circuit. The judges that make up this panel are known as Supreme Court Justices.
The head judge that presides over the court and is the highest-ranking officer of the federal judiciary branch is known as the Chief Justice of the United States. The other eleven justices are known as Associate Justices. Despite the Chief Justice being the ranking member, their vote still only counts the same as the other eleven judges in the Supreme Court.
How to Become a Supreme Court Justice
The job of a Supreme Court Justice is a lifetime appointment. Importantly, a job opening only occurs when a Supreme Court Justice either resigns, retires, is removed from the court, or dies while a member of the court.
The power to nominate a judge for appointment as a Supreme Court Justice lies with the President of the United States. After the nomination it goes to the Senate to decide if the nominee is approved.
Due to the lifetime appointment as one of the highest judges in the country, justices usually have decades of law experience, both as lawyers and lower court judges.
How Much Does a Supreme Court Justice Make?
There are two levels of Justices in the U.S. Supreme Court, those being the Supreme Court Associate Justices and the Chief Justice of the United States. The following are the 2020 year;y salaries of the Supreme Court Justices:
- The Chief Justice of the United States – $277,700 a year
- Supreme Court Associate Justices – $265,600 a year
Supreme Court Justices are eligible to receive a lifetime retirement pension equal to their highest salary. They must serve a minimum of 10 years and the sum of their age and years served must be 80 or greater to qualify for the lifetime pension. An example is if a Justice is 65 years old and has served for 15 years (65 + 15 = 80), they are eligible for the lifetime pension.
In addition to their annual salary they receive healthcare benefits through the Federal Employee Health Benefits system.
These justices have almost complete job security, having been nominated and approved for a lifetime term. The only way a Supreme Court Justice can be removed from the court is if they are impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted to be removed by the Senate.
Although the Supreme Court doesn’t have formal vacation time that they can accrue and use at their own discretion. They do have a three-month recess, between July 1st and September 30th each year. During this time they have no judicial obligations and can travel and use their time as they wish.
How Much Does a Supreme Court Justice Make Compared to Other Judges?
How Much Does a Supreme Court Justice Make Compared to Other Judges? Well Supreme Court Justices are the highest federal judges in the country and as such are also the highest paid federal judges. They make roughly 13.6% more than the next highest federal court judges. Compare their salary with that of lower federal court judges:
- Circuit Court Judges – $229,500 a year
- District Court Judges – $216,400 a year
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the average annual salary among all judges and hearing officers is $117,190. This shows that the Associate Justices make over twice the national average among all judges.
Current Supreme Court Justices
The Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States: John G. Roberts, Jr. – Nominated by President George W. Bush 2005
Supreme Court Associate Justices:
- Clarence Thomas – Nominated by President George H. W. Bush 1991
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Nominated by President Bill Clinton 1993
- Stephen G. Breyer – Nominated by President Bill Clinton 1994
- Samuel A. Alito, Jr. – Nominated by President George W. Bush 2006
- Sonia Sotomayor – Nominated by President Barack Obama 2009
- Elena Kagan – Nominated by President Barack Obama 2010
- Neil M. Gorsuch – Nominated by President Donald Trump 2017
- Brett M. Kavanaugh – Nominated by President Donald Trump 2018