99Rise is building a new nationwide movement waging nonviolent struggle to get big money out of American politics and reclaim democracy for the 99%. Learn what we're all about here, and read up on past actions here.
General Press Contact: Kai Newkirk, firstname.lastname@example.org, (310) 703-3046
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
This morning 5 citizen activist members of 99Rise disrupted the proceedings of the Supreme Court on the eve of the 1 year anniversary of the outrageous McCutcheon v. FEC ruling, which pushed our elections a giant step closer to being billionaire-controlled auctions.Read more
Judge Delivers & Revises "Disproportionate" Sentence for Videotaped Civil Disobedience Against Citizens United
Washington D.C. - Seven activists with the democracy movement 99Rise were brought before the D.C. Superior Court on Thursday morning for their January 21st disruption of the United States Supreme Court, which was caught on video. Two plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges and were sentenced to five days in jail and barred from the Supreme Court grounds. On Friday afternoon they were released after a D.C. judge cut their jail sentence to one day, including time already served.
The government prosecutor suggested that defendants Margaret Johnson and Curt Ries be given two years probation, arguing that peaceful protest within the high court is unacceptable. The prosecution explicitly drew a distinction between demonstrations before Congress, which should be answerable to the people, and the "independent" Court, which deserved insulation from public criticism.
Apparently swayed, Judge Ann O'Regan Keary originally sentenced Johnson and Ries to five days in jail after they refused probation and a government plea deal. She revised her sentence the next day, commenting that jail time was a "disproportionate" response to the conduct of civil disobedience and that it would be "a departure" from ordinary sentencing, signaling that the Supreme Court should not receive extraordinary legal protections from peaceful protest.
"The idea that out nation's highest court is and should be unanswerable and unaccountable to the people whose lives their rulings ultimately determine is both dangerous and deeply undemocratic," remarked Curt Ries after being released from court. "When we the people are prohibited from exercising our right to peaceably express a popular grievance against our government, we've lost our democracy. We stood up in the Supreme Court to both exercise that right and to call attention to the fact that as long as money is speech and corporations are people, we cannot have political equality and we will not be equally represented by our government."
Ries and Johnson plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges, including: "Firearms, Fireworks, Speeches & Objectionable Language in Supreme Court Building and Grounds", "Creating Noise or Disturbance on Supreme Court Grounds" and "Demonstrating Within the Supreme Court". Five other 99Rise leaders were charged with the same counts and will return to court in a month's time, when they will find out if they are eligible for a diversion issued by the prosecution.
The "Supreme Court 7" were arrested on January 21st, 2015 for protesting the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which permitted unlimited "independent" spending in public elections by corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals. On February 26th, 2014 99Rise co-founder Kai Newkirkk also disrupted proceedings within the courtroom, declaring that "Money is not speech. Corporations are not people. And our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder." Both actions were caught on video, which is strictly prohibited within the chamber.
WATCH VIDEO taken from inside SCOTUS chambers where 7 brave activists stood up to protest Citizens United on its 5th anniversary. This is only the second time ever that video from inside the chamber has been captured and released (the first time was a 99Rise protest last February).
The "Supreme Court 7" were forcefully arrested, released after being held in jail overnight, and now face trial on federal charges next month. STAND WITH THEM and call to overturn Citizens United & reclaim democracy for the 99%:
FEATURED PRESS (Day of Action)
FEATURED PRESS (Video Release)
OTHER PRESS (Day of Action)
"Supreme Court Seven" Arrested After Standing Up to Protest Infamous Money-in-Politics Ruling"
Washington, DC—Seven activists with the democracy movement 99Rise disrupted the nation’s highest court this morning, issuing a series of statements calling for the justices to overturn their unpopular Citizens United decision, ruled on five years ago today. Each protester stood up and presented a demand to the Court before raising their index finger in the air. The gesture represents “one person, one vote” political equality, a principle which has been undermined by the limitless campaign spending facilitated by the activist Court.Read more
99Rise highlights from 2014! Thanks to all of you who made these powerful campaigns possible. We plan to go even bigger in 2015! Here's to a year of escalating civil resistance. #TogetherWeRise
Complete List of M4D Media Hits In Chronological Order
(Except those with no link)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Group Covers Over 400 Miles on Historic March for Democracy from LA to Sacramento
Marchers demand "one person, one vote" political equality, an end to big money corruption in politics
California, USA – On May 17th, dozens of activists led by the grassroots organization 99Rise departed Los Angeles to embark on a 480-mile “March for Democracy” across the state of California to raise awareness and mobilize the public around the issue of big money in politics. They plan to complete their march at the state capitol building in Sacramento on June 22nd, where they will demand that the state legislature publicly acknowledge what they are calling “the crisis of corruption” and take immediate action to end it.
“This nation was founded on the principle of one person, one vote,” said Kai Newkirk, co-founder and organizer of 99Rise. “Generations of Americans have shed blood, sweat, and tears to make that principle a reality, from the abolitionists to women’s suffragists, to supporters of The Civil Rights Movement. But now their hard work and sacrifice is being systematically undermined by the out-of-control political spending of a small wealthy elite. It’s time for our generation to step up and do whatever it takes to reclaim democracy for the people of this country. That’s why we’re marching to Sacramento,” Newkirk explained.
The statewide march comes on the heels of two Supreme Court decisions—Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC—that have further enabled wealthy donors to contribute even larger sums to candidates running for political office. 2012 was the most expensive election in the country’s history, with a price tag exceeding 6 billion dollars, but with only 0.4% of Americans contributing more than $200 to political candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Newkirk recently made headlines for his interruption of Supreme Court proceedings and his subsequent arrest, the first time such an act of civil disobedience has been caught on video.Read more