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Alito Critics Surge Past Nominee’s Backers in TV Air War

January 11, 2006

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Contact Information:
Natalia Kennedy, 212 998–6736
Jesse Rutledge, Justice at Stake, 202 588–9454

Alito Critics Surge Past Nominees Backers in TV Air War, Spending By Groups Soars in Week Before Hearings

NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, DC For the first time since the air wars over the Presidents Supreme Court nominees began in July of last year, progressive groups now command a lead in total TV spending on a nominee: they have spent just over $700,000 on five spots criticizing Judge Alito, while the lone conservative group running national advertising, Progress for America, has spent just under $600,000 airing four spots defending the Presidents nominee. In total, the groups have so far spent $1.3 million on the Alito nomination, with the most intense round of advertising likely to coincide with Judge Alitos confirmation hearings, which began this past Monday. Advertising in the past week – $650,000 equaled the amount spent in the two months prior. The data comes from new statistics released by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Justice at Stake Campaign, complete through January 8th.

Now is the time to focus the publics attention on the nomination and what it means for the future of our country, said Deborah Goldberg, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. The TV advertising data shows that both sides see high stakes in the confirmation of a replacement for Justice OConnor.

The tone and content of the latest ads pull no punches., a whos-who of progressive advocacy groups leading the campaign against Judge Alito, argues in one commercial that Alito even voted to uphold the strip-search of a ten-year-old- girl. Progress for America, the lone group running national advertising in support of Judge Alito, says in its latest ad: Everyday, liberals make up a steady drip of attacks against Judge Samuel Alito.

Now that the hearings have begun, interest groups seeking to influence the national debate over Judge Alito will have to react to whats happening in the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake Campaign. They havent emptied their warchests, and theyll be looking carefully for opportunities based on Judge Alitos answers to the Senators questions.

The data for the project is gathered by TNS-Media Intelligence/CMAG, which tracks the nations top 100 broadcast markets and national cable advertising and provides estimates on the cost of each TV spot. Click here or browse the Justice At Stake website for data and previous releases, as well as storyboards and streaming video of ads available to date.