Occupy the Courts day, January 20, protests the idea of corporations as people

Are corporations people? If they are, says a tongue-in-cheek ad that Stephen Colbert's super-PAC was running in South Carolina before the primary there, then Republican Mitt Romney is a "serial killer" of corporations. "Mitt Romney says he's for corporations, but Mitt Romney has a secret," pronounced the ad's narrator. "As head of Bain Capital, he bought companies, carved them up and got rid of what he couldn't use. If Mitt Romney really believes 'corporations are people, my friend,' then Mitt Romney is a serial killer. He's Mitt the Ripper."

But Romney — who uttered that "corporations are people" line last spring, defending low taxes for corporations — could get a presidential-candidate pardon from a new movement that would render the question moot. On Friday, January 20, Occupy the Courts, a national day of protest, will push for officially denying corporations personhood status with demonstrations outside of federal courts in close to a hundred cities — including a major protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. They're all pushing a proposed 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution by Move to Amend — a grassroots coalition dedicated to "ending the illegitimate legal doctrines that prevent the American people from governing ourselves." The exact wording? "We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."

The Occupy the Courts movement got its start right here in Colorado, where Boulder voters approved Question 2H in November 2011, denying corporations personhood status, and Aurora residents have also protested any move to consider Gaylord Entertainment, which wants to build a massive new hotel complex, as a human. Steve Justino, an attorney in Centennial who is co-chair of Colorado Move to Amend, came up with the concept of a day of protest geared toward abolishing corporate personhood.

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"We don't want to just jump over the people," he says. "We want to convince the people to stand behind us — that Move to Amend's 28th amendment is right — so we have that support and politicians can't ignore it."

They won't be able to ignore it here in Denver, where the group will be handing the petition to staff at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on January 20. "We've actually gotten a commitment from the clerk who is going to come out of the building and take Move to Amend's 28th amendment into the courthouse," Justino says. Former lawmaker Ken Gordon is also planning to speak on the issue outside the Capitol at 10 a.m. that day.

The protest marks the second anniversary of the court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. "I could see the trainwreck coming," explains Justino, "and when it came down, I was just furious." He joined Colorado Move to Amend in the summer of 2010, becoming co-chair with fellow volunteers Nancy Price and Michael Melio.

But Occupy the Courts is all Justino's baby. "It's a truly viral phenomenon," he says. In the month after the Occupy the Courts page on the Move to Amend website debuted, on December 2, it got 230,000 views. That number more than doubled in the next week...and that was before Colbert's super-PAC got in on the game.

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Scene and herd: The National Western Stock Show is definitely not a person — and that's good, because the prices that parking lots have been charging all week are downright inhuman! Off Limits heard reports of up to $50 on Martin Luther King Day, and even the city has gotten in on the action, demanding $15 to park in the municipal lot southwest of the Coliseum even on a slow Tuesday.

 
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11 comments
Payton_vege
Payton_vege

Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

EndCorporateControl
EndCorporateControl

As part of the Occupy movement, I realize that getting corporate and billionaire money out of politics is key to getting a government for the 99% instead of the 1% who own most members of both parties of Congress right now. Tactically speaking, though, I feel the way to make the change is not to go back to many of the same corrupt incumbents who have been blocking real campaign finance reform and public campaign financing, and expect them to vote for a Constitutional Amendment that would regulate where a majority of their campaign donations come from. The way to get money out of politics is to use our social networks to replace bribe-inducing TV ads and elect pro-99% candidates who refuse corporate money and promise to vote to ban corporate campaign contributions. We need different politicians to pass different laws and create a system that works for the 99%. That's why I like the ten "fresh democracy" candidates who launched this week with www.BeYourGovernment.org . We need hundreds like them. THEY will VOTE TO AMEND in January 2013. Not the corporate bought politicians we have in Congress now. BeYourGovernment.org supports the important policy objective of the Move to Amend effort, to end the corruption of our political system by huge corporate donations. We feel that the most immediate and effective way of bringing about this essential change is for we, the people, to use our social and personal networks to become, and support, Congressional candidates who run without corporate money. A core transparency question for all candidates is whether they will vote for an end to corporate funding of campaigns, and public campaign financing. We believe that electing many new members of Congress who refuse corporate donations can help Move to Amend build a Congressional majority to get the buck out of the ballot once and for all.

Philo99
Philo99

Obama change the game when it came to campaign finance. He took more in donations than any president in history. Since 2008 it's not longer about debates or campaigning, it's about fundraising.

Whoever raises the most cash, wins. Unfortunately the Obama fundraising machine is already kicking into high gear. Even if a new amendment were to pass, it's won't happen before the 2012 election.

IronyTag
IronyTag

Romney's inartful comment aside... The Citizens United ruling was hailed by civil libertarians, including the ACLU, for saying that individuals do not lose their first amendment rights when they are organized into groups. The ruling overturned the ban on unions, non-profit corporations and for-profit corporations from expressing their political opinions.

I'm amazed the anti-first amendment types that argue "it's ok to have free speech as long as you don't use your money to buy a 'megaphone'". What good is free speech if you can't reach out to those outside of audible range.

I would not want to live in a country where the government bans certain groups of people from expressing their right to free speech. If the proposed 28th amendment had been in place yesterday, Google, Reddit & Wikipedia would not have been allowed to use their sites to oppose SOPA/PIPA.

Stiffling free speech is not the answer, more free speech is.

Tukadoodle
Tukadoodle

Another loser that thinks he is big. A punch of idiots as proven every day. You are just Obama,idiots you claim to ”protest”. Your ”big” victories are nothing but losing propsitions just like you all are. Thanks for the names and FB losers along with all your fake friends. Steve Justino is just another acum lawyer trying to make a buck. Another PI scumbag that needs to be disbarred. Another lawyer scumbag that is the problem he denies. Well they are all going felonies now so watch him get rich on you fools. Go read what a ”riot” is and watch America laugh and spit in your face.

Tukadoodle
Tukadoodle

Sorry you young extended adolescent punks as the total jokes you are. The only thing funny is you Occupy scum in jail for felonies this time around. You think you are ”new and original” but are not. Most don't even know jack as the sad testaments to our scum teachers and their union thugs. Nobody wants to see or hear you as the hypocrites you all are. See the bankrupt future they offer in CA alone today. Ill liberals only celebrate the very worst of the worst evertime. Just a bunch of Obama heads ”protesting” Obama as just the latest scam. A bunch of lazy scum trying to steal what they refuse to learn. America love it or leave it and deport you all with your illegals to live with your terrorist friends. All you idiots do is blame everyone you can. A bunch of Antisemites preaching ”peace on earth” as the lefty frauds you are. Look up the word Nazi and aee Obama with his union thugs. Our great colleges turn out a bunch of crap. You may be ”educated” but are not smart at all. No we are not paying for you idiots never to be ”heard”. It's only a party so stop the noise. Yes you take on any ”cause” for $1 or just free food and bears. Just can't,wait to see your futures ruined for the felonious scum you are. A bunch of self hating Americans and we are sick and done with you. America and the world sees through you as the menace you all are. A bunch of fake ”humanitarian/free speech” frauds you all are proven to be. Nothing but bankrupt rhinking from people doing drugs booze. Stop the ”enlightened” crap cos it's just old news to most. No we are not paying for your poor choices and being the lazy scum most are. Keep doing what,you are doing so Obama doea,lose big.

Steve Justino
Steve Justino

Thanks for the article, Westword. As of today, pro-democracy advocates in 120 cities (in 46 states) will be participating in OCCUPY THE COURTS actions on January 20th. Additionally, the national action map - which your readers can see at www.movetoamend.org/occupythec... - has now been viewed over 580,000 times.

OCCUPY THE COURTS - DENVER will start at on Friday at 10:30 a.m., when we will be going into the State Capitol to do an hour's worth of "citizens lobbying" around our issue - ending "corporate personhood" and asking that our State Legislators take Ken Gordon's CleanSlateNow.org pledge to not take special interest or PAC money. We will then come out of the State Capitol for a rally on the west steps at about 11:30 a.m, followed by the march down the 16th Street Mall to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Finally, the third Co-Chair of Colorado Move to Amend is Linda Cerva, not Nancy Price.

It is supposed to be a beautiful day on Friday, we hope that hundreds, if not thousands, of Coloradoans will join us at the State Capitol, and at the Court of Appeals, to stand up and demand that our human, Constitutional, rights be taken away from the corporations - which were never intended to have them in the first place - and returned those rights, and the political power that goes with them, to WE THE PEOPLE!

ONWARD!Steve JustinoMove To Amend, National Action Coordinator, OCCUPY THE COURTS

Twisted
Twisted

What's an "acum lawyer"? Whatever it is, I'm sure it's smarter than you are.

Stan
Stan

You know what's really disturbing? I know lots of people who make more sense than you do while under the influence of BOTH drugs AND booze AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

Tukadoodle
Tukadoodle

Please see my post above. Wow 500k views and just more crap from a scummy lawyer we don't need at all. A bunch of stupid idiots doing what he says and getting rich off OWS,idiots all to stupid to know. Stop the ”democracy” lies and garbage we have aeen for far too long.

Tukadoodle
Tukadoodle

Corporate personhood makes me LAMO every time. What a bunch of LOSERS and stupid punks to boot. Just like your ”mic check” the world is laughing at you. Nothing but self hating Americans blaming everyone they can. I see the posts on this nonsense are as thin as your superficial thinking and how ignorant you all are. It not just Obama it's all you ill liberal scum we are voting out of office that you just want to steal. Impeach Obama and don't give us your ”racist” crap and lies. All you folks are is Losers that nobody wants or loves. You are no friends of anyone and especially yourselves. I laugh and spit on you terrorist masks most don't even know. You will get your fame and 3-5 years you deserve. You running America is a friggen joke as most can't even tie their shoes or comb their hair. Go take some more hits and it will be all very clear for you. Watch America cheer when they drag your asses to jail...:)

 
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