Supreme Court Nominations

Love of baseball contributed to significant credit card debt for Supreme Court nominee

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made about $220,000 a year as a federal appeals judge, but he still managed to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

In 2016, Kavanaugh had three credit cards, each with $15,000 to $50,000 in debt, and a loan between $15,000 and $50,000 from a thrift savings plan, the Washington Post reports. In 2006, the year Kavanaugh became a federal appeals judge, he had between $60,000 and $200,000 in debt spread among three credit cards and a loan.

White House spokesman Raj Shah told the Post that the debt—now paid off—was used to buy Washington Nationals season tickets and tickets for playoff games for Kavanaugh and a few friends. Some of the debt was also used for home improvements.

Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for their tickets and Kavanaugh no longer buys season tickets, Shah said.

According to the Post’s analysis, Kavanaugh’s reported liabilities over the last 10 years may have sometimes exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets.

There is no credit card and loan debt on Kavanaugh’s current disclosure, which means the balances were paid off or fell below reporting requirements. The value of his current assets is between $15,000 to $65,000, consisting of Bank of America accounts and his wife’s retirement fund.

A National Law Journal story on Kavanaugh’s disclosure points out that he does not list any stock ownership. Such investments have forced the recusals of some Supreme Court justices.

Homes are not listed in the disclosure forms. According to the Post, Kavanaugh and his wife bought their home for $1.2 million in 2006 and currently have a mortgage of $865,000.

Other income included his wife’s $66,000 annual salary as a town manager, and $27,000 from teaching at Harvard Law School.

Based on assets not including homes, Kavanaugh would trail other Supreme Court justices. The current justice with the fewest assets is Clarence Thomas with between $695,000 and $1.7 million in assets.

Kavanaugh will be able to collect his full judicial salary as a pension if he serves until age 68, MarketWatch reports. The publication nonetheless says that Kavanaugh, at age 53, is “nowhere near retirement-ready financially.”

See also: ABA committee to evaluate Trump’s Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh

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