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 Maryland State Senator.


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.[1]

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.[2]

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).[3]


Raskin is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the law review.[4]


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. [5]

"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"[2]

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.[6]

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. [7]

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.[8]

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".[9]

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.[10]

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".[11]

2006 Election Campaign

The following were Summer interns for Raskin's 2006 campaign for Senator for Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Maryland.[12]


The following organizations and individuals endorsed Raskin:[13]



Raskin became a member of the Maryland Senate from January 10, 2007. [14]

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."[15]

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.[16]

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:[17]

"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.[18]


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.[3]


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.[3]

Raskin has represented thousands of Native Americans suing the federal government over mismanagement of Indian lands.[19]

The Nation

Raskin's writings have been featured in the socialist magazine, The Nation.[3]

National Lawyers Guild

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

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.[20]DC NLG July 2009 Newsletter, page 4]</ref>

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.[3]

"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.[21]

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![22]


  1. [1] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 Takoma Voice: Jamin Raskin: Recapturing Democracy, Dec. 28, 2008 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Jamin B. Raskin's Curriculum Vitae (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  4. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  5. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  6. [2] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  7. http://www.jaminraskin.com/bio.php
  8. [3] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  9. Democratic Left, Fall 2003
  10. Democratic Left, Fall 2003
  11. Washington Life website: Yolande Fox's Book Party for Jamie Raskin, April 3, 2006 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  12. Team Raskin Democracy Summer Interns (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  13. Jamie Raskin campaign website: Endorsements (accessed on April 30, 2010)]
  14. http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/msa14610.html. Official Bio. Accessed 08/09/11
  15. Campaign for America's Future website: Take Back America 2008 - Agenda (accessed on May 11, 2010)
  16. Montgomery County Progressive Alliance blogspot, Friday Jan 9: Gala event for SENATOR JAMIE RASKIN
  17. 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)
  18. VegNews: Raskin’s Revolution, July 6, 2009 (accessed on April 30, 2010)
  19. [4] Jamie Raskin for State Senate, official bio, 2006
  20. CMN newsletter, Feb 19, 2013
  21. Progressive Maryland, convened a "Take Back the Budget Debate", Silver Spring Civic Center
  22. [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]