Protesters interrupt Supreme Court
© Greg Nash

Protesters interrupted proceedings at the Supreme Court Wednesday morning to make a statement against two earlier campaign finance rulings.

"I rise to claim our democracy, one person, one vote," one protester said, according to The Associated Press. Other protesters then made themselves known in succession.


The disruption occurred after the justices had been seated for oral arguments in a case about bankruptcy law. Chief Justice John Roberts quipped that he didn’t know that the hearing on such a mundane topic "would attract such attention,” the AP reported.

He reportedly also then said, as more protesters rose, that they could be charged with contempt.

Activist group 99Rise claimed responsibility for the protest.

"The Supreme Court is deeply complicit in the corruption of our democracy," Belinda Rodriguez, 24, said in a statement. The group said she took part in the protests.

"Their McCutcheon and Citizens United rulings have allowed corporations and billionaires to essentially buy our elections with unlimited sums of campaign cash, silencing the vast majority of voters. We're here to send a message that the American people won't stand for it," she said.

In addition to Rodriguez, the group said the protesters were Richard Saffle, 33, Mattew Kresling, 41, Yasmina Mrabet, 27, and David Bronstein, 27.

The group demanded that the court overturn its decision in the Citizens United case, which enabled corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts of money to super-PACs. They also urged the court to change their decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which got rid of the aggregate limits on how much money an individual donor can give to candidates for federal office in any given election cycle.

"We took this action in the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience, with great respect for the Court as an institution and the Constitution it is sworn to uphold," the group said in a statement. "By our determined action we hope to demonstrate to the justices of the Supreme Court — and all government leaders — that their complicity in corruption will be met with unyielding resistance."

99Rise has previously staged two protests in the court over the same issue, one last year and one in January.