Press Release: Jan 20: Occupy The Courts

January 19, 2012

David Delk (Move to Amend Portland; Alliance for Democracy)
Erin Madden (Occupy Portland)
Richard Harisay (Move to Amend Marion-Polk Counties)


National Day of Action for a Constitutional Amendment Making Clear that Corporations are Not People and Money is Not Speech

Portland, Oregon – On January 20, 2012, at 11:30 a.m., hundreds of citizens will gather at Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally and march calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which makes clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech. This is a national day of action just one day before the second anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that corporations (as people entitled to the rights protected by the U.S. Constitution) can spend unregulated sums of money in order to influence elections. The Portland event is one of over 130 rallies in cities and at federal courthouses around the country, including the U.S. Supreme.

Neither the Declaration of Independence, nor the Constitution mentions corporations, which were rare entities at our nation’s founding. However, thanks to decades of rulings by Justices who molded the law to favor elite interests, corporations today are granted rights that empower them to deny citizens the right to full self-governance. Armed with these rights, corporations wield ever-increasing control over jobs, environmental protections, elected officials, even judges and the law.

“Corporations are not persons and possess only the privileges citizens and their elected representatives willfully grant them,” said David Delk of Move to Amend Portland. Move to Amend, supported by hundreds of thousands of people, across the county proposes a Constitutional Amendment that will overturn the Court-created legal doctrines of corporate personhood and “Money Equals Speech.”

On January 12, 2012, the Portland City Council adopted a resolution supporting such a Constitutional Amendment. With passage of this resolution, Portland joins the city councils of Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, and Duluth, MN, which have all passed similar resolutions. “The resolution is a huge first step toward giving power back to the people and restoring democracy for the 99%; now it’s Congress’ turn,” said Erin Madden of Occupy Portland. Occupy the Courts is a manifestation of the frustration of citizens with the increasing corporate control of our government and the momentum building across the country for an amendment that puts the power back in the hands of “We the People.”

Speakers at the event will include Adam Klugman, host of “Mad as Hell in America” on KPOJ 620AM; David Delk with Move to Amend Portland; Erin Madden with Occupy Portland; and Barbara Dudley with the Working Families Party. The Raging Grannies will provide musical entertainment and the Supreme Court “Justices” will also attend and provide great photo opportunities.

Sponsors of the event include KBOO Community Radio, Alliance for Democracy, Move to Amend, the Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church, and Occupy Portland.