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YouTube video purports to show high court action

Friday - 2/28/2014, 9:50am  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A protest group has posted what appears to be the first video of the Supreme Court taken inside the courtroom with the court in session.

The Supreme Court forbids cameras and all other electronic devices, but members of the protest group 99Rise appear to have shot video on two separate occasions since October.

The more recent footage captures a courtroom protest on Wednesday by a man the court identified as Noah Newkirk of Los Angeles. A 99Rise news release posted online says group co-founder Kai Newkirk was the person who called on the court to overturn its 2010 Citizens United decision. Police hustled him out of the courtroom and charged him with disturbing the proceedings.

The protest was the first to disrupt an argument session in more than seven years, since the court heard an abortion dispute in late 2006.

The first part of the video, which runs just over two minutes, seems to come from Oct. 8, when the court heard argument in McCutcheon v. FEC. That case about contribution limits has yet to be decided and is the court's first major foray into campaign finance law since the Citizens United decision.

"I rise on behalf of the vast majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder," Newkirk said on the video. "Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon."

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the court is reviewing the video and courtroom screening procedures.

Spectators, lawyers and reporters must pass through a metal detector before entering the courtroom, and it sometimes is triggered by innocent items, including belts, shoes and watches.


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