January 20th, 2012

Today, on the 2nd Anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC (has it been that long! here was my impromptu classroom lecture on this behemoth of a case), a bunch of Occupiers occupied (or at least tried to occupy) the Supreme Court. My friend Mike Sacks has this report from HuffPo:

The Occupy movement came to the Supreme Court on Friday to protest the Citizens United decision on its second anniversary. What began as a peaceful gathering, complete with an a capella group of mock jurists and “Sesame Street” parodies, turned into a near-melee on the Court’s steps leading to 11 arrests, according to a Court spokesperson.

The group Move to Amend had organized Occupy the Courts to protest at courthouses throughout the United States on Friday. The group supports a 28th constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and that campaign contributions are not a form of speech.

Move to Amend’s rally, which started about noon across from the Supreme Court, was relatively orderly, anger over corporate influence mixing with optimism and good spirits. Among a couple of hundred demonstrators were a busload of self-described progressive Democrats from New Jersey and a Minnesotan currently living in Sweden.

Here is some video of the protestors, before they got shut down.

This quotation stuck out:

“When the Supreme Court decision came down in 2010, I was outraged,” Laird Monahan, the American expat, told The Huffington Post. “I expected to see rioting in the streets. I expected to see people marching on Washington with pitchforks and torches. And after five days, everyone went back to sleep.”

But now the country was beginning to listen, he thought. “I believe the momentum will continue to build,” Monahan said. “It’s our job to wake up 300 million people, and we’re in the process of doing that. I have no doubt that that’s going to happen.”

That’s generally how most things go. No riots and pitchforks for long. And this is how at least one occupier viewed the institution of the Supreme Court:

Mark Levine, a host of the Pacifica Radio show “Raucous Caucus,” tried to end the rally with a call to action.

“It is not impossible to have change,” he declared to the crowd. “The Citizens United decision was a 5-to-4 decision. All we have to do is wait and elect a president who, when one of those five justices is gone, will appoint a justice who will respect the Constitution of the United States.”

“What is important is not this rally,” said his co-host, Garland Nixon. “It’s what you do when you leave this rally. It’s who you talk to. It’s how you build the movement. So keep in mind, these rallies are great rah-rah sessions, but when you leave here, don’t just go home and feel good about it. Leave, do something, and there can be serious change from serious people.”

And her is video of them getting arrested (after what is reported as an hour of protests) at around 4:40:

Oh to hear what Justices Scalia and Thomas were musing about today if they were there. Or what Justices Ginsburg or Sotomayor had to say.