Jamin B. Raskin

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Jamie Raskin

Jamin (Jamie) B. Raskin (born December 13, 1962) is the son of Institute for Policy Studies founder Marcus Raskin. He is married to Sarah Bloom Raskin. Jamie Raskin is a Professor of Law at American University and a former Maryland State Senator.

He won Maryland Congressional District 8 in 2016.

Endorsed by Our Revolution

Jamin B. Raskin was endorsed by Our Revolution, an organization run by former campaign workers and supporters of former socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[1]


A lifelong progressive Democrat, Raskin has brought "innovative ideas and a hands-on approach to government and politics at every level."

He has served on the Montgomery County Hate Crimes Commission, the Takoma Park Election Redistricting Task Force, and the Takoma Park Gun Policy Task Force. From 1998 to 2005, Raskin served as the chairman of Montgomery County State’s Attorney Doug Gansler’s campaign committee, where he helped develop the community-based prosecution plan now in effect in Montgomery County.

In 1999, Governor Parris Glendening tapped Raskin to become the first Chairman of the Maryland State Higher Education Labor Relations Board, which the legislature created to secure the right to organize on campus. Under Raskin’s leadership of the Board, thousands of employees at institutions of higher learning in Maryland achieved collective bargaining rights for the first time in state history.

Raskin has earned national recognition as a voice for democracy, and as a civil-rights and civil-liberties advocate. In 1992, he served on President Clinton's Justice Department Transition Team for the Civil Rights Division. He was elected as a Kerry-Edwards Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In 2006 he served on the advisory board of Progressive Democrats of America.[2]

Early and Personal Life

Raskin has stated that he views his life as "growing up in an environment of progressive politics". His father, Marcus Raskin, served in President Kennedy's administration and co-founded with Richard Barnett the Institute for Policy Studies.[3]

Raskin is married to Sarah Bloom Raskin. The couple have three children, Hannah Grace Raskin (born July 13, 1992), Thomas Bloom Raskin (born January 30, 1995), and Tabitha Claire Raskin, (born January 31, 1997).[4]


Raskin is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the law review.[5]


Raskin served as Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts before moving to Takoma Park in the late 1980s. He then served as the general counsel of the National Rainbow Coalition, working with the Rev. Jesse Jackson to expand the base of the Democratic Party and open it up to new voices, new communities and new ideas.

In 1990, he became a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, and later academic dean of the law school. He currently directs the school’s Program on Law and Government. [6]

"Share the Vote" Campaign

In 1992, Raskin was a member of the Takoma Park Redistricting Task Force which had the mission of giving the vote to non-citizen residents and illegal immigrants living in the city of Takoma Park. The task force considered several alternatives, such as redrawing the wards according to the voting population, but that is not legal. Raskin suggested that the wards be kept the same, but that everyone in the area would be given the right to vote. Non-citizen voting rights were later approved in a city referendum and the matter survived a court challenge. Raskin co-founded with George Leventhal the "Share the Vote" Campaign that campaigned for non-citizen voting rights. Following the law-change, Raskin commented, "Today, many communities exclude aliens from participation. I'm proud to be part of a community that has extended them this political recognition"[3]

Constitutional Literacy Project

In 1999, Raskin founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project at the Washington College of Law. Organized with the widows of the late Justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan, the project sends top law students into 20 public high schools in Maryland and Washington, D.C., to teach the U.S. Constitution through cases that affect students most directly.

Also in , Raskin wrote “We the Students: Supreme Court Cases for and about America’s Students,” in which he collects and analyzes the 50 most important Supreme Court decisions about the rights and responsibilities of America’s students. The book, which serves as the text for the Marshall-Brennan Project, has sold 25,000 copies, and the project has become a national model, adopted by the law schools at Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania, Arizona State University, the University of Oregon, and Howard University.[7]

Vote swap scheme

Raskin has built a reputation as an innovator whose ideas gain traction. His 2000 article for Slate magazine introduced the idea of Internet “vote trading” in the 2000 election, to convince Ralph Nader supporters in swing states like Florida and Wisconsin to vote for Vice President Al Gore, and to have equal numbers of Democrats vote for Nader in Republican states such as Texas and Alabama. This tactic picked up at least 35,000 votes for Gore in swing states before Republican State Attorney Generals and Secretaries of State threatened criminal prosecution of the Web site organizers. [8]

Voter activism

A member of the board of FairVote, the nation’s leading electoral-reform group, Raskin is perhaps best known as a champion of voters’ rights. In his 2003 book, “Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus The American People,” Raskin documented the Rehnquist Court majority’s assault on voting rights in the 2000 election, and placed Bush v. Gore in the context of a series of Supreme Court decisions undermining the participatory rights of the people.

Focusing on the Rehnquist majority’s statement that the “individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote” for president, Raskin argued for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote (and to get one’s vote counted) to all Americans.

He has worked closely with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. to advance a voting rights amendment in Congress, and with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to advance a voting rights agenda for the people of Washington, D.C.

The D.C. City Council unanimously praised Jamie’s “passionate advocacy” for the voting rights of the disenfranchised.[9]

DSA connection


In 2003 Jamin B. Raskin wrote an article for the Democratic Socialists of America paper Democratic Left, Fall 2003, "Supreme Court vs. Democracy".[10]

Liberals have become the biggest constitutional conservatives for fear of the other side’s malign tinkering. But the Left should be fighting for amendments to protect those basic democratic rights that people think are already protected but, in fact, are not: the right to vote, the right of the people to choose the president, the right of the young to an equally funded public education. The right way to face a Court determined to overrule democracy is for the people to overrule the Court.

Raskin was described as a professor of constitutional law at American University, director of its Appleseed Project on Electoral Reform, and author of We the Students and Overruling Democracy:The Supreme Court versus the American People, a recent Washington Post Bestseller.[11]

Book Launch

Raskin and Carol Blitzer at the launch

On March 10, 2006, IPS member, Yolande Fox and former Algerian Ambassador, Cherif Guellal hosted a book launch for Jamin B. Raskin's most recent book entitled "Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court Versus the American People" at their home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Among those in attendance were , Jamie's father and IPS-founder, Marcus Raskin; Jim Hudson; Carol Blitzer; Dennis Campbell; Hisham Khalid; Mark Plotkin; Ira Lowe; Michelle Carhart; Steve Wermiel; Former Senator Mike Gravel and his wife, Whitney Gravel; Owen Lombardi; Zeus Yiamouyhannis; Douglass McGray; Lisa Richards and David Toney.

Of the book, Barbara Ehrenreich has stated, "This brilliantly argued and meticulously researched book both alarms and inspires".[12]

2006 Election Campaign

The following were Summer interns for Raskin's 2006 campaign for Senator for Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Maryland.[13]


The following organizations and individuals endorsed Raskin:[14]



Raskin became a member of the Maryland Senate from January 10, 2007. [15]

Take Back America America conference

On March 17, 2008, Judith Brown, Regina Eaton, Deborah Goldberg, Ashindi Maxton and State Senator Jamie Raskin spoke in a session "Does Your Vote Count? Fixing A Flawed Election System" at the Take Back America conference in Washington D.C. The description for the session was:

"The right to vote is a foundational principle of our democracy, however, millions of voters in this country are disenfranchised every election cycle. A strong democracy, and a participatory democracy, is essential for realizing the goal of a more inclusive America. Data clearly shows that voters are losing faith in our election system - more than 1 in 5 Americans question whether their vote in the last presidential election was counted fairly. Widespread systemic problems persist, disproportionately affecting certain groups of voters, and contributing to reduced public confidence in the integrity of our elections. This panel will discuss the work that is being done to eliminate barriers to voter participation and to ensure that every vote is counted by implementing proactive reforms at the local, state, and national level."[16]

2009 Raskin event


Congressman Elijah Cummings and Attorney General Doug Gansler Co-Chairs of Maryland for Obama, hosted an " extraordinary gala event for SENATOR JAMIE RASKIN, Chair of Montgomery County for Obama at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Friday, January 9, 2009 - 8:00 pm.[17]

Meat Eaters "Violent"

Raskin at the Takoma Park Veg Week launch

On 20 April 2009, Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams signed a Proclamation officially declaring April 24 through April 30, 2009 as Takoma Park Veg Week. The event was run as a project of Compassion Over Killing. At the Veg Week Kick-Off Party on April 24, special guest Senator Jamie Raskin shared his plans to go vegetarian for the week, bringing the ethics of meat-eaters under question, stating:[18]

"As a lifelong carnivore, I will be kicking off a week of 'experimental vegetarianism' to see if I have what it takes to live on a nonviolent diet like the most ethically evolved people in the community."

Following Takoma Park Veg Week, Raskin became a vegetarian.[19]


Raskin has done lectures and presentations for the following groups: League of Women Voters, Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, the Anti-Defamation League, National Institute for Citizen Education in the Law, National Rainbow Coalition, Blacks in Government, and the National Women's Democratic Club. He has done pro-bono representation for Greenpeace, ACORN, Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Service Employees International Union, and Students United Against Sweatshops.[4]


From 2000 - 2005, Raskin served as Chairman of the Maryland State Higher Education Labor Relations Board, which oversees labor relations and collective bargaining among 15,000 employees on 16 state university and college campuses. He was elected as the Kerry-Edwards Delegate to the Democratic National Convention 2004 from Democrats Abroad. He was a member of the 1992 Clinton-Gore Transition Team, Justice Department- Civil Rights Cluster, and has served as a Washington-area Board Member for the National Rainbow Coalition.[4]

Raskin has represented thousands of Native Americans suing the federal government over mismanagement of Indian lands.[20]

The Nation

Raskin's writings have been featured in the socialist magazine, The Nation.[4]

National Lawyers Guild

In 2009 Jamie Raskin was a member of the National Lawyers Guild.[21]

February 28, 2013, CMN’s Vicki Schieber, death row survivor Shujaa Graham with Witness to Innocence, Abe Bonowitz of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin were part of the National Lawyers Guild Students Against the Death Penalty Day in Washington, D.C.[22]

D.C. Statehood

Raskin is an advocate of the District of Columbia becoming one of the States of America. He was a recipient of the Martin Luther King Freedom Award from the New Columbia Statehood Coalition. He has also been heavily involved in testifying before various committees on the need for D.C. Statehood. On November 18, 1991 and July 28, 1993, Raskin testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the District of Columbia about the constitutionality of statehood for New Columbia. On March 26, 1993 he testified before the United States Commission on Civil Rights about Voting Representation and Statehood for the District of Columbia. On June 16, 1994 he testified before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Self-Determination. On August 4, 1994 he testified before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on methods of enfranchising citizens living in the District of Columbia. On January 13, 1998 he testified before the United States Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee on the constitutional relationship between Congress and the District of Columbia. On January 29, 1998 he testified before the Council of the District of Columbia on the unconstitutionality of disenfranchisement in the District of Columbia.[4]

"Progressive Maryland" event, Silver Spring


Tues. Sept 20, 2011, Progressive Maryland, convened a "Take Back the Budget Debate", Silver Spring Civic Center, Ellsworth and Veterans Place, Silver Spring

Turn Your Anger to Action on the Economy and Federal Budget - Come, spread the word, and bring everyone you can!

Panel speakers included : US Rep. Donna Edwards, MD State Senators Roger Manno and Jamie Raskin, Center for American Progress Senior Economist Heather Boushey, and Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Karen Dolan. Moderated by Progressive Maryland Board President and NAACP’s Elbridge James.[23]

Marriage equality

With his colleague Senator Richard Madaleno, Raskin successfully introduced--and was the passionate Senate floor leader for--marriage equality legislation, which passed in 2012 and made Maryland the first state in the nation to adopt marriage equality without a prior judicial ruling striking down the discrimination.[24]

Hosting Elizabeth Warren


State Senator Jamie Raskin announced a visit by Elizabeth Warren to Maryland, April 21, 2012,, to be held at the home of his friend Damon Silvers.

District 20 is the progressive Democratic heartland of Maryland so it makes sense that the sensational progressive Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, is coming to visit us here tomorrow! Please join me and true-blue Democrats from all over our community and state in giving Elizabeth Warren a rousing Maryland welcome tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, between 2:00 and 3:30 pm at the home of my friend Damon Silvers, a key force in the labor and consumer movement, in Takoma Park. We have the opportunity to give a big financial boost to Elizabeth's campaign, which is essential to holding the U.S. Senate and taking back Congress in November. Join us!
As you know, Elizabeth Warren is America's passionate champion of the struggling middle class and has proven herself time and again willing to fight against corporate fraud and the capture of government by predatory special interests. The populist thinker who came up with the idea for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she has done more to advance the cause of consumers and workers over the last decade than anyone else in America. Imagine what she can do in the U.S. Senate seat held by Teddy Kennedy when she beats Scott Brown![25]

Maryland United for Peace and Justice

According to Kurt Stand “Peace and Justice through the Generations: Passing the Torch for a Better World,” was the theme of Maryland United for Peace and Justice’s 29th annual conference, held at the Unitarian Universalist church in Annapolis, April 25-26, 2014.

Paul Chappell, a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran spoke of his personal transformation from someone who didn’t question our military policies and overseas war, from someone who listened to and accepted Rush Limbaugh’s view of the world, into a peace activist who questions what he is told, questions the morality and practicality of US overseas policies — and thus today is engaged in building a movement to “wage peace” not war. Kristi Casteel gave a moving tribute to her son, Joshua, another war veteran turned peace activist who died from a cancer likely caused by his exposure to uranium deposits and burn pits used by the US military in Iraq. In a video recording of one of his speeches, Joshua, who served as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib, states that there is no such thing as a private conscience; conscience must be public to be real. Thus he joined Iraq Veterans Against the War, addressed audiences across the world, and wrote plays speaking to what he saw and learned, including Returns and The Interrogation Room.

Social activism for peace necessarily becomes activism for open democratic governance, as those who profit from militarism inevitably try to shield their actions from the public. That connection was made by J. Kirk Wiebe, who lost his job and suffered from government harassment because of his NSA (National Security Agency) whistle-blowing, and Kathleen McClellan, the National Security and Human Rights Counsel of the Government Accountability Project.

The concrete tasks that lay ahead were laid out in State Senator Jamie Raskin’s address to the conference in which he spoke of a Maryland progressive agenda that is building support for the twin goals of peace and justice.[26]

Raise Maryland


In 2013, Valerie Ervin and Jamie Raskin were involved in Raise Maryland.

Congressional run

Will Jawando, a former Obama administration aide and Education Department official, said he will run for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D).

Jawando, 33, who lives in Silver Spring, filed notice of his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission said he will make a formal announcement next month. He becomes the third Democratic primary contender to officially enter the race, joining Del. Kumar Barve (D-Montgomery) and State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery). Van Hollen is running for the Democratic nomination to succeed the retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). [27]

Conyers endorsement

John Conyers endorsed Raskin's candidacy;

"I have known Jamie for many years to be a tireless champion of progressive causes as both a professor of constitutional law and litigator, as well as a dynamic leader in the Maryland Senate. As the Dean of the U.S. House, former Chairman and current Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, I have had the privilege of working with numerous members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. As such, I have no doubt Jamie’s’ background, skills, knowledge and passion will make him a superb member of Congress."
John Conyers
U.S. Representative, Dean of the U.S. House and Co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus[28]

Endorsed by METRO DC DSA

In 2016 Metro DC DSA’s Steering Committee endorsed in three races in Maryland… the open seats in Congressional District 4 (Prince George’s/Anne Arundel) and Congressional District 8 (Montgomery). Both were open because CD 8 Rep. Chris Van Hollen and CD 4 Rep. Donna Edwards were opponents for the open Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Metro DC DSA is endorsing Edwards for the Senate seat, State Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk for the CD 4 seat and State Sen. Jamie Raskin for the CD 8 seat. None of them are shoo-ins. Pena-Melnyk has received the Washington Post’s endorsement but faces two establishment candidates. She has, however, received a late-March cascade of endorsements and money from Emily’s List and similar benefactors. Raskin (“too left-wing”) and Edwards (“not enough constituent service” is the WaPo attack line) have had their opponents get the local daily’s nod and favorable treatment, and been unfavorably treated themselves by the um, objective WaPo. Maryland readers of the Washington Socialist who have not already steeped themselves in these contentious and entertaining races are urged to do so, and actively support our endorsees if they have appeal.http://dsadc.org/2016/04/[29]

"Progressive victory"

Given that these candidates want to rid the party of corporate influence, it’s no surprise that many are going head-to-head with big money. In Maryland, Jamie Raskin’s two biggest challengers in the Democratic primary are a wine mogul named David Trone, who has already spent more than $5 million of his fortune on the race, and Kathleen Matthews, who once oversaw the Marriott political action committee and is now herself the recipient of more lobbyist money than any Democrat running for the House in 2016.

“My [two] major opponents here have no real history of involvement in Democratic Party politics,” Raskin says. “They are creatures of the big money politics that have overtaken our country.” He’s won the endorsement of both liberal groups and a number of Democratic state lawmakers, and—borrowing a page from Sanders’ playbook—has relied on a surge of small-dollar donations to remain competitive. “Progressives are fired up here for a victory against big money,” Raskin says.[30]

New progressives

Writing in The Nation magazine, John Nichols quoted Jayapal as saying, "We're building a movement that can clearly stake out a positive vision for the future of America at a time when too many people feel cynical about change, and when too many people are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table."

According to Nichols, Jayapal argues that "corporations and special interests have their voice in Congress, and they have too many members scared of their power. What Congress needs is a progressive voice who is unafraid to take on these powerful interests-who is willing to fight for all Americans, not just the wealthiest one percent."

Nichols wrote that Jayapal joins "a number of the Democrats ... being nominated for the House [who are] progressives who really could change the chamber and the country."

Nichols writes that Jayapal joins "a number of the Democrats ... being nominated for the House [who are] progressives who really could change the chamber and the country."

Aside from Jayapal, Nichols cites "Civil rights and voting rights champion Jamie Raskin , "a brilliant constitutional scholar and state legislator [in Maryland]" ... and "Anti-corruption and anti-monopoly campaigner Zephyr Teachout [who] has a real chance to take a Republican-held seat representing New York."[31]


Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Keith Ellison (Minn.) and Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), and Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, NEA, International Association of Machinists, Sierra Club.

PDA 2016 endorsements

In 2016 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed;

Wins primary

State Sen. Jamie Raskin (Montgomery) won one of the most-watched Congressional primaries on April 26, 2016, defeating heavy-spending opponent David Trone for the Democratic nomination. (WUSA9)

State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (Montgomery), outspent 6-to-1 by a wealthy Potomac wine retailer who poured more than $12 million of his own into his candidacy, won Maryland’s 8th Congressional District Democratic primary Tuesday.

Raskin, 53, a constitutional law professor, led with slightly more than one-third of the vote. He ran ahead of David Trone, who became the biggest self-funding House candidate ever. Former news anchor Kathleen Matthews ran third, followed by six other contenders who trailed by large margins.[33]


In 2017 Jamie Raskin was a new member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.


  1. Our Revolution; Our Candidates, accessed October 27, 2016
  2. [1] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 Takoma Voice: Jamin Raskin: Recapturing Democracy, Dec. 28, 2008 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Jamin B. Raskin's Curriculum Vitae (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  5. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  6. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  7. [2] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  8. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  9. [3] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  10. Democratic Left, Fall 2003
  11. Democratic Left, Fall 2003
  12. Washington Life website: Yolande Fox's Book Party for Jamie Raskin, April 3, 2006 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  13. Team Raskin Democracy Summer Interns (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  14. Jamie Raskin campaign website: Endorsements (accessed on April 30, 2010)]
  15. http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/msa14610.html. Official Bio. Accessed 08/09/11
  16. Campaign for America's Future website: Take Back America 2008 - Agenda (accessed on May 11, 2010)
  17. Montgomery County Progressive Alliance blogspot, Friday Jan 9: Gala event for SENATOR JAMIE RASKIN
  18. Raskin '06 website: Sen. Raskin goes vegetarian for the week and residents are encouraged to participate, too, May 21, 2009 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  19. VegNews: Raskin’s Revolution, July 6, 2009 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  20. [4] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  21. DC NLG July 2009 Newsletter, page 4]
  22. CMN newsletter, Feb 19, 2013
  23. Progressive Maryland, convened a "Take Back the Budget Debate", Silver Spring Civic Center
  24. Raskin for Congress endorsements
  25. [https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/mcprogressivealliance/X2Inae8JLVQ, Google groups, Montgomery County Progressive Alliance › Tomorrow! Elizabeth Warren in Mont County!Mike Hersh 21/04/2012From: Senator Jamie Raskin <senatorja...@gmail.com>,Date: Fri, Apr 20, 2012]
  26. [http://dsadc.org/making-private-conscience-public-uniting-peace-with-justice-in-maryland/ Washington Socialist Kurt Stand, Making Private Conscience Public: Uniting Peace with Justice in Maryland The Washington Socialist <> June 2014, Kurt Stand]
  27. WAPO. Former Obama aide announces run for Van Hollen seat, By Bill Turque April 28, 2015
  28. Raskin for Congress endorsements
  29. 2016 edition of the Washington Socialist Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
  31. PW India-born Pramila Jayapal, a fighting progressive, wins Washington State primary Print Email to a Friend assets/Uploads/_resampled/CroppedImage6060-TimWheelerCROP2.jpg by: TIM WHEELER august 11 2016
  32. PDA endorsed candidates, accessed April 17, 2016
  33. WaPo Raskin wins Md.’s 8th Congressional District primary By Bill Turque April 27