About half a dozen protesters disrupted the solemn proceedings of the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning on the fifth anniversary of the court’s controversial decision that cleared the way for greater corporate and union spending in election campaigns.
Demonstrators stood one by one after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. opened the day’s session, raising their hands and shouting phrases such as “Money is not speech” and “One person, one vote.”
“Overturn Citizens United,” one shouted, referring to the court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission . That, along with subsequent court rulings, has greatly expanded the amounts that individual and corporate interests may spend on election campaigns.
The first protester caused the most disruption, as court police knocked over chairs in an attempt to reach her and drag her from the chamber.
Roberts at first made light of the incident.
“Our second order of business this morning . . . ” he began.
But more protesters were scattered among the spectators who had waited in line to view the court’s proceedings.
“We are the 99 percent,” one shouted.
The removal of the rest was more orderly after it became clear that each had a phrase to call out. The man who yelled “One person, one vote” waited calmly while police made their way to his seat in the corner.
When all had spoken and been removed from the courtroom, Roberts said, “We will now continue with our tradition of having open court in the Supreme Court building.”
The group 99Rise, which said on its Web site that it is “building a nationwide movement to get big money out of American politics through nonviolent action,” said it was responsible for the protests.
It asked for support for the “Supreme Court 7.”
The court’s public information office said it had no immediate information about whether the protesters were arrested.
It is not the first time spectators have shouted objections to the court’s Citizens United decision, and courtroom security was increased last year after someone took and posted online video of a bit of an oral argument.
Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom.