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TV Data Analysis Shows How Roberts Nomination Battle Faded to a Skirmish

September 22, 2005

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 22, 2005

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

TV Data Analysis Shows How Roberts Nomination Battle Faded to a Skirmish
A Rehearsal for the Upcoming Battle

NEW YORK & WASHINGTON, DC Television advertising around the Judge John Roberts nomination sputtered to a virtual halt on the eve of the Judiciary Committees vote, suggesting that interest groups are saving their war chests for the next battle.  That conclusion comes from an analysis of the latest television advertising data conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the Justice at Stake Campaign.

No major groups ran ads last week from September 12 to 18.  (A group called Right March spent barely $8,500 on ads that ran in upstate New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, and on national cable television.) From September 5 to 11, NARAL Pro Choice America spent an estimated $295,028 on a spot questioning Judge Roberts commitment to the right to privacy, while Progress For America spent $160,200 airing an ad urging the Senate to give Judge Roberts a fair up or down vote. 

Since the beginning of the year, interest groups have spent an estimated $2.54 million on adsfar less than predicted, and far less than the $3.3 million spent on advocacy ads during filibuster showdown this spring, said Deborah Goldberg, Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

To a great extent, interest groups, especially those opposed to Judge Roberts, have focused their television ads on states represented by Senators from the so-called Gang of 14, that prevented a filibuster showdown earlier this year. The analysis also revealed that supporters and opponents of Judge Roberts nomination are focusing primarily on process issues in their advertising rather than direct calls for his confirmation or defeat. 

Given the small number of ads run in direct opposition to Judge Roberts, it wont be surprising if significant numbers of Democratic senators feel willing to support him, said Bert Brandenburg, Executive Director of Justice at Stake.

More data, as well as storyboards and streaming video of all of the ads, are available online at and

About this project:
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law and the Justice at Stake Campaign are teaming up to provide regular snapshots of the television advertising campaigns related to the confirmation of Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The groups regularly collaborate on analyses of interest group advertising in state Supreme Court elections.  The data for the project is gathered by TNS-Media Intelligence/CMAG, which tracks advertising in the nations top 100 Designated Market Areas and on national cable television.