Seven people were taken into custody for disrupting the opening minutes of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of a decision by the court to roll back limits on campaign finance regulation.
The protesters were objecting to the landmark Citizens United v. FEC case, in which the Court ruled 5-4 to allows corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on independent campaign expenditures and electioneering communication, spawning the creation of so-called SuperPACs.
Officials did not disclose the identities of the seven protesters, who were charged with misdemeanor disruption. An eighth person was detained for allegedly attempting to record a video of the protest and charged with a conspiracy-related count, according to NBC News.
The protesters were not alone in condemning the Supreme Court ruling. ”The Citizens United decision was wrong, and it has caused real harm to our democracy,” President Obama said in a statement earlier Wednesday criticizing the outcome of the case. “With each new campaign season, this dark money floods our airwaves with more and more political ads that pull our politics into the gutter. It’s time to reverse this trend.”
In Congress, Rep. Chris Van Hollen re-introduced the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would require greater disclosure of outside spending by corporations and other groups.
“Congress must restore the integrity of our electoral process – in the face of a secret special interest takeover of our democracy, failure to act is inexcusable,” The Maryland Democrat said. Republicans have repeatedly filibustered the bill in the Senate, arguing that it would unfairly benefit labor unions while punishing corporations.