Unprecedented Interruption of Supreme Court Proceedings
Thu, 2/27/14 – by Carl Gibson
Early on Wednesday morning, inside the stuffy chambers of the United States Supreme Court, a man stood up in a crowd of 330 citizens to address the nation’s nine top judges. He wasn’t scheduled to give testimony, and wasn’t a certified legal expert with credentials to present an oral argument in the Supreme Court. His interruption of Supreme Court proceedings would be the first in eight years, and only the second in two decades. And for the first time ever, a citizen speaking freely inside the Supreme Court chamber was caught on video SaveFrom.net.
“I rise on behalf of the majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon. The people demand democracy,” said Kai Newkirk of the organization 99Rise, before being hauled out of the courtroom and handcuffed. As of this writing, Newkirk is still in jail on charges of “haranguing” and uttering “loud threatening or abusive language” in the Supreme Court building.
Newkirk’s outburst preceded oral arguments for the McCutcheon vs. FEC case, which has been called “Citizens United, Part 2.” Shaun McCutcheon, C.E.O. of the mining industry-focused engineering company Coalmont Electrical Development, is the plaintiff in the case. McCutcheon, of Birmingham, Ala., donated $16,250 to the Alabama Republican Party in 2012. His company has donated to the campaigns of the most obstructionist Republicans in the US Senate, including top Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, who is credited with initiating the federal government shutdown of 2013. The latest oral arguments for McCutcheon vs. FEC were presented in October. It’s also worth noting that the Republican National Committee has joined McCutcheon in his lawsuit, along with Mitch McConnell himself, whose team of lawyers will be making arguments to the Supreme Court on McConnell’s behalf.