Prof. Jamin Ben Raskin
Professor Raskin is a law professor at American University's Washington College of Law and a Democratic State Senator in Maryland representing District 20 (Silver Spring and Takoma Park). An active public interest lawyer and prolific author of works on American constitutional law, Raskin ran for office in 2006 to challenge the "rightward drif of our politics." Defying all the pundits, Rasking toppled a 32-year incumbent, capturing 67% in the Democratic primary and winning 99% of the vote in general. He now serves on the Maryland Senate's Judiciary Committee and joint committees on Legislative Ethics and the Chesapeake Bay.
As Senator, Raskin has seen more than a dozen of his bills pass into law, including a statewide farm-to-schools program to get locally grown farm produce into public school cafeterias; a statewide civil rights law guaranteeing jury trials and compensatory damages for victims of racial, ethnic and gender discrimination; a law establishing September 17 as Constitution and Bill of Rights Day; the Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment, to examine the fairness of the death penalty in the state; as well as the National Popular Vote law, which made Maryland the first state to adopt a plan for a nationwide interstate compact to cast every state's electoral college votes for the winner of the national popular vote.
The Director of WCL's Program on Law and Government, Raskin's bestselling books include Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People (2003), an analysis of Bush v. Gore and conservative judicial activism, and We the Students (3d ed. 2008), which examines cases affecting America's students and has been called "the bible of the new movement for constitutional literacy." Raskin founded the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which has sent hundreds of law students at nine law schools into public high schools to teach a course in constitutional literacy.