INSTITUTE INDEX: The outside spending onslaught in Southern states' supreme court races

Outside political groups are spending a record amount this election cycle to influence state supreme court races.

Record amount that outside political groups — those unaffiliated with candidates' campaigns — have spent on TV ads to influence state supreme court races in this election cycle, according to a new analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice: $14 million

Amount outside groups have spent on TV ads for state supreme court races just this fall: $3.9 million

Election cycle that set the previous record of $13.5 million in outside spending on supreme court race ads: 2011-12

Rank of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a corporate-funded group devoted to electing Republicans in down-ballot races, among the largest outside spenders in supreme court races this cycle, including those in Arkansas and West Virginia: 1

Total amount that outside groups spent on West Virginia high court race, which was held in the spring, with most of that coming from the RSLC: almost $3 million

Of the 13 outside groups that have spent money on TV ads for judicial races, number that are fully transparent about their donors: 3

Total TV spending, by outside groups and others, in this election cycle's state supreme court races: $29.9 million

The current record, set back in 2011-12: $35.5 million

Rank of Louisiana among the states where the most has been spent on TV ads in state supreme court races, at $1,453,000: 2

Of North Carolina, at $1,414,000: 3

Of Mississippi, at $751,000: 5

According to an American Constitution Society study, portion of the time that state supreme court justices who receive half or more of their contributions from business groups vote in favor of business interests: 2/3

(Click on figure to go to source. Many of the numbers in this index are from "Outside Groups Set TV Spending Record in Judicial Races as Obama Endorses NC Judge," an analysis released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice.)