Photo by Lucy Bellwood
With robes billowing and umbrellas brandished against the January sky, the Supreme Court marched purposefully up the steps of the Solomon Courthouse in downtown Portland, rounding on the assembled press with their gavels at the ready. A closer look, however, revealed Mike Munk ’56, Ethan Scarl ’61, and Phil Wikelund ’68 alongside six others, all cunningly disguised as Supreme Court justices to protest the anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—a case in which the Court voted to grant corporations “personhood.”
That decision opened the floodgates for corporations to make unlimited contributions to political candidates, posing a dire threat to the democratic process, according to the protestors, who embarked on a “judges’ ramble” through the streets of Portland before mounting the courthouse steps.
Ethan got off easy—he portrayed Justice Breyer, who voted against the decision. Mike, author of the Portland Red Guide, glowered convincingly as Justice Kennedy, bedecked with a shameful bandolier of corporate logos. Phil, former proprietor of the Great Northwest Bookstore (tragically consumed by fire last year), hung his head in mock shame as Justice Roberts. “I know this doesn’t look good after I sat in for the civil rights protests at Reed in ’63,” he says. “But I’m doing it for a good cause.”