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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

2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018

 2017 | 20162015 | 2014

2013 |​​​​​​​ 2012 | 2011 | 2010

2008 2006 | 2004 | 2002


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