Brett Kavanaugh’s Net Worth (and What He’d Make on the Supreme Court)
You’ve been hearing about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for weeks. But aside from hearing about what he was like in college, you may not know very much about the judge’s personal life. As he made clear in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, he’s a husband and a father. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Chevy Chase, Maryland. But what is Brett Kavanaugh’s net worth, and what does he have in the bank? Plus, how would his bottom line stand to benefit if he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court?
Here’s what you need to know about Kavanaugh’s net worth and how he makes his money.
Brett Kavanaugh has a $1 million house, but very little savings
According to Money, Brett Kavanaugh has a $1 million house, but very little in savings. Money reports that disclosure forms obtained by OpenSecrets show that he’s “low on assets and investments.” Kavanaugh listed just two assets that had a combined value of up to $65,000, in addition to debts of as much as $15,000. The assets include bank accounts with Bank of America and a retirement plan for his wife.
Kavanaugh lives with his wife, Ashley, and their two daughters, Margaret and Liza. Property records show that their home is valued at about $1 million, Money reports. The publication adds that “Other details about his lifestyle are scarce, but there are a few factors that could explain why Kavanaugh doesn’t have a lot in savings.” He purchased his house for $1.2 million. And his children attend Blessed Sacrament School, where tuition for Catholic students is $10,580 per year. (It’s a little pricier for non-Catholic students, who have to pay $11,700 per year.)
Kavanaugh would get a raise on the Supreme Court
Money reports that Brett Kavanaugh “may soon be getting a raise.” As an appeals court judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, he currently earns a $220,600 salary. Money reports that his most recent filing disclosed that in addition to his regular pay as a judge — working at Harvard Law School, the Washington Jesuit Academy, the American Law Insitute, and Blessed Sacrament School — he made about $27,500 in non-investment income.
If he joins the bench at the Supreme Court, he’ll make more than that. Associate justices take home $255,300 per year, Money reports, referring to the U.S. Courts website. But Kavanaugh’s net worth may take a while to catch up to those of his fellow justices. Money explains, “They’re a wealthy bunch. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Stephen Breyer has the highest net worth on the bench with a minimum $6.15 million. Kennedy, the justice Kavanaugh is aiming to replace, was actually at the bottom of the rankings with an estimated $580,000 net worth.”
He hasn’t saved for retirement
MarketWatch reports that Kavanaugh is “nowhere near retirement-ready.” (He also isn’t prepared to put his daughters through college.) The publication explains, “Already an appellate-court judge — with a Yale Law degree, no history of bad health or unemployment and a working spouse — he has $15,000 to $50,000 in the bank, no reported stock, bond or fund holdings, and a 401(k) retirement account held by his wife that holds less than $15,000.” MarketWatch adds, “He’s miles behind where a normal person’s finances should be at 53.”
However, the publication notes that if he’s confirmed and serves on the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh would also get a hefty pension after his career there is done. “He’ll be eligible for a hefty pension of his highest full salary, as long as he meets minimum service requirements (it’s a formula that, in Kavanaugh’s case, would require him to serve at least until he’s 68),” the publication explains.
The financial disclosures don’t offer a complete picture
As GoBankingRates points out, Brett Kavanaugh’s 2017 disclosure doesn’t offer a complete picture of his finances. “It doesn’t include Kavanaugh’s federal pension, for instance, or the home that Kavanaugh and his wife purchased in the suburb of Chevy Chase, Md., in 2006 for a whopping $1.2 million and have refinanced twice.”
The 2017 forms also appear to imply that Kavanaugh managed to pay off the “substantial” credit card debts reported in his 2016 disclosure, or paid them down enough that he didn’t have to report the details. In 2016, he had between $60,000 and $200,000 in debt, which reportedly accrued mostly by purchasing baseball tickets for himself and his friends to attend Washington Nationals games, and to make home improvements, according to MarketWatch.
Brett Kavanaugh’s net worth is about $1.2 million (but only if you count his house)
As Bloomberg reports, financial disclosures of the type Kavanaugh has had to give aren’t net worth statements. Instead, they’re designed to show potential conflicts of interest. The publication adds, “Federal judges are supposed to recuse themselves from cases in which they, their spouses or dependent children have a financial interest. The Supreme Court justices also follow that standard, although they aren’t required to by federal law.”
GoBankingRates puts Brett Kavanaugh’s net worth at about $1.2 million. That still wouldn’t impress many other Supreme Court justices. As of 2016, Stephen Breyer had a minimum net worth of $6.15 million. John Roberts had an estimated net worth of at least $5 million. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had at least $4 million.
But GoBankingRates’ estimation of Brett Kavanaugh’s net worth seems to hinge on the value of his expensive house. MarketWatch reports that if you leave his house out of his net worth, then he’s worth less than $100,000.
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