Lynne Turner traveled from New Jersey on Friday to send a message to the Supreme Court about corporate and union donations to political campaigns.
Along with about 100 others in front of the high court’s building on the second anniversary of a ruling that allows unlimited donations by those entities, she took part in one of 130 “Occupy the Courts!” demonstrations scheduled nationwide.
Move to Amend, the coalition that organized the rallies, says the ruling — Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — allows corporations to leverage elections with money. And that, it says, takes away from the democratic process — and the right of the people to choose their elected officials.
“Both political parties are being influenced by corporations, and the policymaking doesn’t reflect what the people are saying they want,” she said. Pointing to the court, “they’re the ones that made this decision,” Turner added.
The rally grew out of the Occupy movement, and members of Occupy D.C. were there to show their support.
Demonstrators gathered in the park across the street from the Supreme Court, as its marble stairs were gated off and guarded by about two dozen police officers. The message displayed on their posters and fliers read: “Corporations are not people.”
In New York, people rallied at Zuccotti Park and Foley Square after a judge ruled that they did not have the right to protest in front of a Manhattan federal court building.
The D.C. event began as a musical of sorts, with nine people dressed as Supreme Court justices — their robes bearing blue sashes adorned with the names of major corporations — singing about how they make decisions for the American people. Then the finger-pointing began as the crowd was led in a new rendition of the song “Chain of Fools.” “Shame shame shame, shame on you,” they sang, wagging their fingers at the judicial building.
“It’s about who owns our government,” Annabel Park, a rally organizer and leader of Coffee Party USA, which bills itself as an alternative to the tea party, told the crowd. “It’s our responsibility to occupy this government.”
Darrell Prince, from Occupy Wall Street, is in town visiting the Occupy camp at McPherson Square. He said he’s involved in the movement because the “government is doing things it’s not supposed to be doing and that are unconstitutional.”
“Occupy the Courts” and similar efforts give people the opportunity to “exercise their rights and their power,” he said.