Political Groups Prepare Supreme Court Lobbying and Spending Strategies

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WASHINGTON ( -- No sooner did President Bush nominate Appellate Court Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court than political groups began rolling out advertising supporting or protesting the choice.
Photo: AP
President Bush and Appellate Court Judge Samuel Alito at yesterday's White House announcement.

More polarizing
Mr. Alito is a more polarizing figure than Mr. Bush's first two nominees for the two seats on the high court, and that could have a marked effect on ad spending as the nomination process heads to the Senate for confirmation., the National Abortion Rights Action League and Pro-Choice America are working feverishly to develop new advertising opposing the nomination. Liberal groups are promising a major fight to head off the Alito nomination.

Looking to garner support for the nominee are, which has already created radio ads, and Progress for America, which said it will spend $425,000 for a one-week TV effort to run starting today on Fox News Channel and CNN. Progress for America is also targeting public relations and grassroots efforts in 20 states whose Senate votes could be critical to Mr. Alito’s nomination and has earmarked another $50,000 in spending for e-mails and banner ads on political sites.

McCarthy Marcus Hennings
“Urge the Senate to give Samuel Alito a fair up or down vote,” says the Progress for America TV spot from McCarthy Marcus Hennings, Washington, which points to Mr. Alito’s experience as a judge and an attorney arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

Before Mr. Bush appointed John Roberts to the Supreme Court, ad spending by groups weighing in on a new nominee was expected to hit $30 million to $40 million. But Mr. Roberts had bipartisan support, leading to less than $3 million actually spent by political groups on the nomination. A new flood of spending was expected when White House counsel Harriet Miers was nominated, but that, too, never came to fruition.

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