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Buying Time 2000

This page features judicial campaign ads from 2000.

Published: October 30, 2000
2000 marked a dangerous turning point for America’s courts, signaling the growing, systematic, and unprecedented infusion of big money and special interest pressure into the election of supreme court justice across the country. Supreme court candidates raised a total of $45.6 million in 2000, which is a 61 percent increase over 1998, and double the amount they raised in 1994. Half – and perhaps more – of all donations came from lawyers and business interests. Political parties were the third highest contributors. More than $10 million was spent on campaign ads in 2000, with 22,000 ads running in four states. Candidates bought most of the air time in 2000, but political parties and special interests are organizing as never before  to elect “their” judges in battleground states. Of the ads run by special interest groups, 80 percent were negative in tone. This far outstrips the negative ads run by candidates and political parties. Many of the ads that ran in 2000 focused on hot button issues, such as tort liability and reform, crime control, and family values. This increase of big money and special interest influence in judicial races is creating a growing threat to fair and impartial courts around the country. 

State Breakdowns

Alabama | Michigan

Mississippi | Ohio

Real Time Analysis 

Throughout the election season the Brennan Center issued a series of analyses focused on judicial election spending 


All data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG, which captures satellite data in the nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s estimates do not reflect ad agency commissions or the costs of producing advertisements, nor do they reflect the cost of ad buys on local cable channels. Cost estimates are revised by Kantar Media/CMAG when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.