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Monday, January 23, 2012

'Occupy' Movement Protests 'Citizens United' at Supreme Court, Other U.S. Courthouses

'Occupy' Movement Protests 'Citizens United' at Supreme Court, Other U.S. Courthouses
The National Law Journal by Tony Mauro and Andrew Ramonas  -  January 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - The "occupy" movement took its campaign against corporate domination to the federal judiciary on Jan. 20, storming the U.S. Supreme Court building and demonstrating at other courthouses nationwide to protest the high court's 2010 Citizens United decision. "Corporations are not persons, and money is not political speech!" proclaimed "Occupy the Courts" leader David Cobb in front of several hundred people at a grassy area on U.S. Capitol grounds across the street from the Supreme Court. Protesters, some of them from the Occupy Wall Street encampments in Washington, later moved across the street to the Court, where they pushed through a police barricade and ran up the Court's steps almost to the columns that guard the bronze front doors. Court police allowed the demonstrators to advance, even though federal law prohibits demonstrations on Court grounds. Finally, an hour after the protesters entered onto Court property, police began making arrests and ordering remaining demonstrators down the steps. Late in the afternoon, a Court spokeswoman said a dozen people had been arrested. The protests marked the two-year anniversary on Jan. 21 of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), which struck down restrictions on independent expenditures by corporation and unions in election campaigns. Critics say the ruling has injected millions of dollars into campaigns, often in the form of attack advertising funded by independent "super-PACs" that cannot be directly traced or imputed to candidates.  Several leaders of the protest said coverage of the Super-PACs and their impact on the Republican presidential primaries has helped galvanize opposition. "We are seeing how this disgusting decision is corrupting our system," said Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, a longtime activist who helped organize the Jan. 20 protests. "And we ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until the races get under way, and this will be influencing congressional races, everything." Asked why she was demonstrating at the Court, she said, "This is the scene of the crime." Some of the protesters are hoping to build on the protests and push for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United by stating that money is not speech and corporations are not persons under the law. Asked if a constitutional amendment is a realistic goal, Joan Stallard, a demonstrator from Washington, said, "The Constitution has been amended 27 times, and we can do it again." She said more and more of the public is beginning to understand "the power of corporations in our political system" and will be receptive to a constitutional change. The demonstration at the high court began with some light theater—black-robed "justices" dancing and singing. In Boston, protests included speeches and music by a fife-and-drum team dressed in Revolutionary War-era clothing. An "auctioneer" dressed in top hat and tails sold rights such as free speech and freedom of the press to the highest bidders, who were corporations represented by people dressed in boxes with the names of companies. About 150 people braved 29-degree weather to participate in the Boston protest behind the John J. Moakley U.S. Courthouse. In New York City, where the "Occupy" protests began, demonstrators moved the location of their anti-court protest to Foley Square, after a federal judge on Jan. 19 rejected their preferred location outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan courthouse. Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan said the General Services Administration had properly denied the group's application for a permit, because the location the demonstrators sought was not a designated public forum (NYLJ, Jan. 20).  Late on the afternoon of Jan. 20, approximately 50 protesters were massing on Broadway, set to march about 12 blocks from Zuccotti Park north to Foley Square for a rally.  Roughly 100 people chanted slogans outside the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. Demonstrators also gathered in Portland, Ore. and Detroit. In Chicago, 50 demonstrators came out in driving snow, with one holding a sign that said, "Citizens United against Citizens United." Tony Mauro covers the U.S. Supreme Court for ALM, the Law Journal's parent. He can be contacted at Andrew Ramonas, a reporter at The National Law Journal, an affiliate, can be contacted at Sheri Qualters, a reporter at The National Law Journal, contributed to this report.


memo maker said...

memo to Holder and Obama: People are fed up with a corrupt court system.

Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell!

Anonymous said...

The Occupy movement needs to figure out that the people they need to go after are the politicians. They are the ones that make these laws and rules that have allowed this corruption to flourish.

The Occupy movement needs to start going to every public event these candidates have, and every office they staff, and get them to understand that it is not the 1% that have put them where they are, but the other 99%. And those are they people they need to be taking care of.

Anonymous said...

The Occupiers need to go after Eric Holder and the lawyers who buy the justice in our courts for their corporate and private clients.

Next,they need hound Chucky Schumer out of office for all the corrupt judges, SEC and Justice Department appointments that are passed through his office and why all these Schumer droppings have failed to prosecute any of the mortgage derivative frauds, or Wall Street frauds or Goldman/bank frauds. How much is needed to be paid to Schumer to buy protection?

Then,stop by Cuomo's office and ask why he took money from opposing attorneys when he was Attorney General. What did those opposing attorneys buy with that money?

Anonymous said...

If Spring comes and OCCUPY no longer works as the cranky rich and our closet Republican Governor keep shagging them out of their residences of must then become..OCCUPY TO ENETER.

Let people view the violations and diminshing of all civil rights that IS going on in our NY Federal Cts firsthand, which is often kept silent from the public.

America can then see what ALL judicial systems have been hiding from them for decades...with lifetime terms and Gov. and Corporate dollars flying around for the clandestine ability to buy these Fed Judges rulings... who take perfect cases of discrimination and roll out garbled, non-sensical summary judgements.

America needs to start listening and investiging before voting Conservative or Republican..the purchasers of justice that affects most of the US.

Anonymous said...

Right on brothers and sisters, bring it home

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

All the court houses around the country should be occupied so all the corruption comes to a stop.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the corruption stop for a while when the occupy people were there?

Anonymous said...

Here's a surprise. Another crooked NY lawyer trying to pull a fast one.

"Lawyer withdraws $7.5 million dollar lottery claim

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A New York attorney's decision to withdraw his claim on a multimillion dollar Iowa Lottery prize doesn't put to rest officials' questions about how he obtained the ticket."


Apparently, he's very experienced at his trade.

"Records show Shaw played at least a minor role in the collapse of Industrial Enterprises of America, a chemical company that was looted and bankrupted in 2009 by a stock manipulation scheme. Shaw helped found the company after taking control of a Houston-based shell corporation, serving as its CEO from 2004 to 2005.
Shaw's history also includes lawsuits alleging fraud in Delaware and Texas."

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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