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How Sonia Sotomayor Spends Her Money

Posted Jun 8, 2009 8:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Sonia Sotomayor made more than $205,000 last year as a federal appeals judge and law lecturer. Yet her net worth of $740,000 is relatively low compared to other justices she would like to join on the U.S. Supreme Court. So where does the money go?

Part of Sotomayor’s salary covers the high cost of living in New York City, where a 980-square-foot condo she bought in 1998 for $360,000 is now valued at just under a $1 million, the New York Times reports. In the city, even parking a car can cost hundreds of dollars each month. She frequents restaurants in the city, “has a taste for nice things,” enjoys interior decorating and loves to shop, the story says.

She enjoys travel and has vacationed in the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. Sometimes she visits casinos on vacation, although she isn’t a regular gambler, according to White House spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. Last year she won $8,283 gambling with her mother.

Sotomayor also helps support her mother and mother’s husband, the White House told the Times. She owns a third of a Florida condo where they live, a portion she values at $20,000.

Sotomayor goes all out at Christmastime, when she buys more than 60 presents for relatives, friends and court staffers, including custodians and cafeteria workers. Former clerk Matthew Colangelo told the Times that Sotomayor used to throw a holiday party outside her office that included food and a disc jockey.

Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw has taken Sotomayor to task for being a spender rather than a saver. “My grandmother would have been shocked and appalled to see someone who makes so much save so little,” he wrote on his blog.

Story corrected on June 12 to say that Sotomayor vacations in both the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands.

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