Ginsburg Won’t Settle For Second Place This Time


Last week, we reported that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was just behind Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her quest to be this term’s fastest justice.

Ginsburg isn’t chancing a second-place finish, though, in the epic* Battle Over the Best Supreme Court Book of the Year.

Her financial disclosures for 2016 show that she received a whopping $204,534 in royalties from her 2016 book, “My Own Words,” the justice’s first book since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993, according to her publisher Simon & Schuster. It’s “a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture,” the publisher says.

That sum puts her safely ahead of the runner-up Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who racked in a respectable $44,942 for his 2015 book, “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.” In it, “Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private—from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade—obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America’s borders,” according to his publisher Penguin Random House LLC. The book is one of several that Breyer has penned in the last two decades.

Newly confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch, lost on a technicality, as the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts didn’t release a copy of his 2016 financial disclosures. In his 2015 disclosures, he reported $304.94 in royalties for his 2009 book “Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” and $5,000 from his 2016 contribution to “The Law of Judicial Precedent.” So Gorsuch wasn’t set up to have a great rookie year showing anyway.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor didn’t report any royalties despite writing, or at least contributing, to books in the past. “A” for effort though, folks!

But in a move reminiscent of that middle-school nerd rubbing baby powder on their face in an attempt to get out of gym class, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Elena Kagan didn’t even participate. I guess they were too busy heading the Smithsonian (Roberts), speaking at judges conventions (Kennedy) or teaching at Harvard (Kagan) to pen a tome.

There’s always next year. Until then, we all have the upcoming Running of the Interns to temper our anticipation!

*Disclosure: This isn’t an epic battle… yet.

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