To mark the third anniversary of the Citizens United decision, nonprofits and community groups held a rally at the federal courthouse in downtown Indianapolis Friday.
About 50 people, holding signs and American flags, listened to speeches decrying the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which removed limitations on corporation spending to support or defeat a candidate or issue.
A handful of speakers from labor, health care and environmental advocacy organizations denounced corporate influence on elected officials and public policy. They charged big business was spending money to manipulate public opinion and to support candidates sympathetic to the business agenda.
“Let’s get big money out of politics and take back the Statehouse,” Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition, said to the crowd.
The rally, which lasted was about an hour, took place at the southeast corner of the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. It was part of the national Occupy the Courts movement which will hold about 250 similar rallies across the country to protest the Citizens United decision.
Members of the Move To Amend – South Central Indiana group traveled from Bloomington to attend the event. James Allison of South Central said the purpose of the demonstration was to make the public aware of the issues surrounding the Supreme Court decision and to promote an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The national Move To Amend organization is pushing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would overturn Citizens United by stating corporations are not people and money is not speech.
During the speeches, the crowd attending the rally was mostly silent and few people walking by the courthouse stopped to listen. One passerby inquired what was happening. When one of the demonstrators told him the gathering was to protest Citizens United and unlimited corporate spending, the passerby muttered, “oooooooh,” and walked away.
Julia Vaugh, policy director of Common Cause Indiana, asked the crowd to lobby the Indianapolis City-County Council to adopt a resolution supporting Move To Amend’s constitutional amendment.
More and more people are paying attention, she said, because Citizens United impacts the issues people care about.