NEW YORK » Protesters plan to "occupy" courthouses in more than 100 cities across the U.S. on Friday to protest a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that removed most limits on corporate and labor spending in federal elections.
The grassroots coalition, called Move to Amend, said the protest will kick off petition drives to gain support for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United v. FEC, a 2010 court ruling that allowed private groups to spend huge amounts on political campaigns with few restrictions. Occupy Wall Street activists are joining the protest.
"The courts created the idea that the corporation is a person with constitutional rights," said David Cobb, an Occupy the Courts organizer. "It’s the justification for the whole corporate takeover of our government."
A last-minute court dispute left the status of the protest in New York City unclear. A judge on Thursday ruled that demonstrators do not have a First Amendment right to protest in front of a Manhattan federal courthouse.
Protesters had filed a lawsuit asking the judge to overturn the government’s rejection of their permit application. The permit had been denied on grounds that the courthouse poses unique security concerns.
In light of the ruling, protesters did not announce whether the event would be moved to another location.