A group organizing a nationwide protest to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been prohibited from demonstrating outside the Federal Courthouse on Pearl Street tomorrow. The group, Move to Amend, is now suing the federal agency in charge of issuing the permit and demanding an injunction that would allow an estimated 200 protesters to peaceably assemble. And what reason were they given for the permit denial (below)? An official with the Government Services Administration explained it was because of "a morning citizenship swearing in, and a 4:00 p.m. installment of a federal judge." Yeah, can't they pick a day to protest when no one's around to witness it—especially not impressionable new Americans?
The demonstrations, being held to call attention to the ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate-funded political campaigns, will be taking place in over 120 cities nationwide on Friday. And only one other city has denied permits: Bryson City, NC! Here in Bryson's sister-city NYC, the protest was scheduled to take place outside the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse between 5:00 and 5:45pm, with a march and rally in Foley Square to follow. Speakers include Russell Simmons, Reverend Billy, author/activist and Christopher Hedges. It will now take place in Zuccotti Park.
"We are targeting our action on the federal courts because it is the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower courts that have taken our Constitutional rights and handed them off, one by one, to the corporations," says Stephen Justino, National Action Coordinator for Move to Amend's Occupy the Courts. "With this permit denial, the GSA is preventing NYC's 99% from participating in this important national dialogue." The group is demanding a constitutional amendment stating that rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, not to artificial entities such as corporations or labor unions, and that campaign spending is not a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.