Justice Stephen Breyer Owns Lots of Land

Turns out the West Indies vacation home where the Supreme Court justice was robbed at machete point last Thursday isn’t his only piece of property.

By: Marisa M. Kashino

Photograph courtesy of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.

The news that Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer was robbed at his home in Nevis in the West Indies by a machete-wielding intruder was certainly shocking. But some were just as surprised to learn that the justice owns a Caribbean vacation house.

Though members of the high court have some of the most prominent jobs in the country, they definitely don’t have the highest-paying ones. As an associate justice, Breyer makes $213,900 per year. And remember—the justices are locked into their government salaries for life. Unlike US solicitors general and attorneys general—similarly high-profile government legal positions—the justices can’t cash in for a multimillion-dollar private practice paycheck after a few years on the job.

Breyer lists his Nevis home as a rental property in his financial disclosures, though according to his most recent financial disclosure report, the home brought in no more than $1,000 in rental income during the 2010 reporting period. He lists the home’s value between $100,001 and $250,000.

It seems Justice Breyer is a good neighbor on the island, which is also a popular vacation spot for royalty and Hollywood celebrities. An article in Carribean Travel + Life Magazine about Nevis offered this anecdote:

“A regular guest of the Golden Rock Inn recalls an evening when he fell into a spirited discussion of a controversial Nevisian constitutional issue with a local property owner. The guest discovered in the wee hours of the morning that his conversational companion was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who owns a villa near Golden Rock.”

According to his 2010 financial disclosure report, Breyer also owns land in Concord, Massachusetts, valued between $50,001 and $100,000, and land in Plainfield, New Hampshire valued between $250,001 and $500,000. In addition to stock market investments, Breyer, who is an author, reported $59,611 in royalties from publisher Random House and $18,405 from the Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund for teaching.

The most important thing, of course, is that the justice and his house guests were not harmed during the home invasion, which took place last Thursday.