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Court Justices Took 100 Free Trips

May 25, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ When they weren’t hearing oral arguments or working on decisions, the nine members of the Supreme Court collectively were a busy band of travelers in 1998.

Financial disclosure forms released Monday show they took 100 trips paid for by others last year, mostly for speaking engagements, short-term teaching stints or programs with legal officials in other countries. The exact costs weren’t listed.

The leading traveler was Justice Antonin Scalia, who took 24 trips paid for by a variety of state bar associations, universities, nonprofit associations and the New York Stock Exchange. Scalia visits included Venice, Italy and Dublin, Ireland as well as the Bronx and Macon, Ga.

In contrast, Justice David Souter took only one paid trip: a moot court competition financed by Harvard Law School.

Some forays were unusual. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for instance, got a free ride to dedicate the new Sandra Day O’Connor High School last September in San Antonio, Texas.

``I delivered a speech and met with students and faculty,″ O’Connor reported on her form. ``The school paid for my round-trip air transportation and overnight lodging.″

O’Connor also received a carved limestone piece worth $175 from the school and listed two other such gifts: a $1,500 crystal cameo for a lecture at Scripps College and an $875 Steuben glass sculpture from the Junior Leagues International.

Scalia had to attach a separate letter to his form because he originally forgot to list four prints and one tempura painting worth a combined $350 he was given by artist Giacinto Orfanello.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a combined $14,000 in honoraria for speaking engagements at three college law schools, but she didn’t accept any of it. Instead, Ginsburg designated the money for Georgetown University’s women’s law school program, a children’s foundation and for the Columbia Law School.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer listed eight trips, including the annual Dec. 29-31 get-together known as ``Renaissance Weekend″ in Hilton Head, S.C., also a yearly trek for President Clinton. ``Participated in panels,″ Breyer noted dryly about the weekend.

Several of the justices reported outside income for teaching law courses or delivering university lectures. Two reached the $20,000 legal limit: Scalia, who listed seven teaching jobs, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who had four.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist listed income from two teaching positions, $12,500 from St. Mary’s University and $6,282 from the University of Arizona School of Law.

Rehnquist’s annual salary is $175,400; the court’s other eight members are paid $167,900 per year.

As in years past, the wealthiest justice was Ginsburg, who with her husband, attorney Martin D. Ginsburg, listed assets ranging between $5.9 million and $24.1 million. Next in wealth is Breyer, who reported between $4.4 million and $11 million in assets _ compared to last year’s $4.3 million to $15.9 million.

At the other end of the income scale is Justice Clarence Thomas, who listed assets of between $30,002 and $175,000, composed mainly of part ownership of rental properties in Savannah, Ga., and Omaha, Neb.

Here are 1998 assets reported by the other justices:

_Kennedy, $30,002 to $265,000, virtually the same as 1997.

_O’Connor, $2.5 million to $5.7 million, about the same as 1997.

_Rehnquist, $360,008 to $960,000, up from $210,000 to $590,000.

_Scalia, $645,006 to $1.5 million, virtually unchanged.

_Souter, $1.1 million to $5.3 million, the same.

_Justice John Paul Stevens, $1.4 million to $2.9 million, up from $1.2 million to $2.74 million.

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