A day of action, amending, occupying

Hadley Vandiver | Boulder Weekly

Move To Amend, a national coalition with local affiliates across Colorado, is calling for a day of action on Friday, Jan. 20.


Occupy the Courts asks volunteers to occupy federal courthouses for one day in more than 100 U.S. cities.

Steve Justino, co-chair of Colorado Move to Amend (MTA) and Metro Denver MTA, says that the occupations will be focused on raising awareness.

“The purpose of Occupy the Courts is to educate the American public to the fact that the Supreme Court has taken our human constitutional rights and given them over to corporations,” says Justino. “With those constitutional rights that they shouldn’t have, the corporations are destroying our democracy.”

Justino, who also serves as the national action coordinator for MTA Occupy the Courts, hopes that the action day will lead to more ballot initiatives similar to Boulder’s Question 2H last fall, which endorsed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would give constitutional rights only to people, not corporations. It is a response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which critics say lifted limits on campaign spending, equating money with free speech.

“MTA is all about grassroots organizing. We like our actions to come from the people,” Justino says. “That’s why we like what Boulder did with their ballot initiative. Boulder is a great example for the country.”

Rick Casey, one of the founders of the Boulder affiliate of MTA, said that the passing of 2H in November was a crucial step in reaching MTA’s goals.

“We were one of three cities to pass a resolution, which is part of the overall strategy of Move To Amend,” says Casey. “They want more and more local governments to try to pass things like this, to start at the bottom and work our way to the top. We want to show that the citizens want to amend this, and that they do not think that corporations should be considered people.”

Justino expects a turnout of 500 to 1,000 people on Friday.

“There will be some very big actions and there will be some very small actions,” Justino says, “but every place where somebody is out in front of a courthouse, protesting Citizens United, demanding an amendment to the constitution, will bring more power to the people.”

In Denver, Occupy the Courts will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Colorado state Capitol. The group will walk the 16th Street Mall at 12:15 p.m., followed by a rally at the Byron White U.S. Courthouse at 12:45 p.m. At 2 p.m., there will be a party at the nearby Mercury Café. For more information, visit http://movetoamend.org/.

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