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Buying Time

Our groundbreaking Buying Time analysis examines the sponsorship, content, and costs of televised state supreme court campaign ads.


Influ­ence-seek­ing money has made tremend­ous inroads into our courts — insti­tu­tions that are consti­tu­tion­ally obliged to provide equal justice regard­less of wealth, status, or polit­ical connec­tions. Each elec­tion cycle, the Bren­nan Center collects all avail­able tele­vi­sion ads aired in states that held supreme court elec­tions. An analysis of these ads forms the basis of our annual “New Polit­ics of Judi­cial Elec­tions” report, which docu­ments the grow­ing threats to fair and impar­tial courts from big money, special interest pres­sure, and tele­vi­sion air wars. 

The data for each elec­tion cycle, includ­ing spend­ing, spot counts, themes, and tone, can be found here. From 2016 onward, the Bren­nan Center also published disclos­ure docu­ments posted to state disclos­ure data­bases, ad purchase contracts posted by the Federal Commu­nic­a­tions Commis­sion, and estim­ates by Kantar Media/CMAG. Previ­ous years are limited to data from Kantar Media/CMAG. 

Buying Time by Year

2022 2021 | 2020 | 2019 

2018 | 2017 | 20162015 

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

2010 | 2008 2006 | 2004

2002 | 2000

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