For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Natalia Kennedy, 212 998–6736
BUYING TIME 2004: Supreme Court Ads in Record Number of States
New York, NY—During the 2004 election season, the Brennan Center for Justice is releasing weekly real-time reports on television advertising in state Supreme Court elections. These reports, to be released every Wednesday through November 10, will analyze campaign advertising by candidates, political parties, and interest groups.
This report includes information from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. The report provides information about who is advertising and how often, the estimated cost of the airtime, and the tone and content of those advertisements.
Cumulative Report Through October 17, 2004
Ads Spread Throughout the Nation: This year, state Supreme Court ads have been airing in 15 states (AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, LA, MI, MS, NC, NM, NV, OH, OR, WA, and WV. This represents nearly a fourfold increase since 2000, when ads ran in only four states (AL, MI, MS, OH) and a 66 percent increase since 2002, which saw ads in nine states (the four from 2000 plus ID, NV, TX, WA). “No state is immune from the spread of expensive, politicized campaigns for the bench,” said Deborah Goldberg, Democracy Program Director of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “States must move now to improve disclosure and reduce the influence of special interests through public funding of campaigns.”
The Million Dollar Club: Four states have now seen advertising at an estimated cost of more than a million dollars. More than $3 million has been spent in Illinois alone, Alabama is poised to see more than $2 million in ads, and Ohio and West Virginia have passed the $1 million mark. According to a report from Ohio Citizen Action, candidates in Ohio have raised more than $5 million, so we are likely to see more advertising in the last weeks of the campaign.
Reports (Data Current Through October 17, 2004)
The Brennan Centers analyses of television advertising in state Supreme Court elections use data obtained from a commercial firm that records each ad via satellite. The firm provides information about the location, dates, frequency, and estimated costs of each ad. Brennan Center researchers use the storyboards video captures of the ad at four-second intervals, with complete audio text to code the ads, documenting the content, tone, and other relevant information. Cost estimates are revised by the firm when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported costs. The calculation does not include the costs of design and production, so cost estimates substantially understate the actual cost of advertising.
For More Information
Buying Time 2004 reports, including links to the storyboards, are available at: http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/buying-time-2004. The reports will also be included in the Justice at Stake 2004 Supreme Court Elections Real Time Tracking Project (www.justiceatstake.org) along with information about candidate fundraising and special interest activity.
For more information, please contact Natalia Kennedy at the Brennan Center at 212–998–6736 or visit http://www.brennancenter.org/. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law develops and implements a non-partisan agenda of scholarship, public education, and legal action that promotes equality and human dignity, while safeguarding fundamental freedoms.
For additional information about the Center’s work to promote fair and impartial courts, please visit: Fair Courts.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, founded in 1995, unites thinkers and advocates in pursuit of a vision of inclusive and effective democracy. Its mission is to develop and implement an innovative, nonpartisan agenda of scholarship, public education, and legal action that promotes equality and human dignity, while safeguarding fundamental freedoms.
Please visit http://www.brennancenter.org/.