By Public WebWorks Staff
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On July 10, 2000, shortly after 2 p.m., Dorris Haddock and six other
protestors were arrested by Capitol Hill Police immediately after she
entered the U.S. Capital and began reading aloud from the Bill of
She had walked more than 3000 miles from Pasadena California in an
effort to focus attention on campaign finance reform and public
financing for elections.
Ms. Haddock was reduced to tears when, as is customary during
arrest, an officer tried to remove a wedding band from her arthritic
finger. The officer eventually gave up.
Just before entering the Capital building, Ms. Haddock read a short
statement to the press gathered outside:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the term "no taxation without representation"
has in our history been used by Americans to rebel against the idea of
unfair taxation. Today, I should like to speak about the other side of
that equation. In that we pay taxes, how about some representation? If
our elected leaders take money from special interests, the access that
is sold is in fact stolen from us --from "we the people." It is a right
of every American to be represented without the interference of a
corrupt system of institutionalized bribery.
I have come here today to simply read from the Bill of Rights inside
our great hall of the American People, where our rights of peaceable
assembly and free speech must be held most sacred. I do this to make the
point that we have a fundamental right to representation, just as we
have a fundamental right to peaceably assemble for the redress of our
On Wednesday, August 9, 2000, Ms. Haddock appeared in court in
Washington where she was sentenced to time already served and a $50
victims restitution fee that judges are required to collect from all who
plead or are found guilty.
Ms. Haddock made the following statement in court:
"Your honor, all Americans are protected by our Constitution, which
says, at the very top of our Bill of Rights, that "Congress shall make
no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for
a redress of grievances. That is the highest law in the land, is it not?
Under what legal authority, then, was I dragged away from my Capital
Building in shackles, when I entered peaceably, and peaceably did
nothing more than read, word for word, that very Bill of Rights in a
calm voice? What country is this, Your Honor, where we do not have the
right to peaceably assemble, where we do not have the right to petition
the government for a redress of our grievances, and where we are not
allowed speech in our own hall?
The grievance I was there to stand against is the fact that ordinary
citizens are no longer represented in Congress, because special
interests have bought and paid for our elected representatives and
corroded the process of free elections.
We are taxed without representation. More importantly, the graves of
one million Americans who have died under our flags are being spat upon
by those who think our democracy is theirs to sell to the highest
You honor, I have pled guilty because I do not dispute what is
charged: I spoke freely in the halls of what used to be my own