A closer look at the first two amendments to the Constitution

Bill of RightsSome recent events have made it an opportune time to take another look at the first two amendments to the Constitution.
Let's begin with the First Amendment. The First Amendment to the Constitution covers a great deal in very few words. Specifically it states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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."
If there is one word that is the most significant among the 44 words that comprise the amendment it is the word "Congress." The amendment is intended to prevent "Congress," and by Congress meaning the government, from enacting laws that would violate an individual's right to practice his or her religion or exercise his or her right to free speech, a free press, assembling peaceably, or petitioning the government.


Raskin shines the light on government darkness


Jamie Raskin Paul Schwartz 0370I recently had the opportunity to listen to Congressman Jamie Raskin address the Women's Democratic Club of Montgomery County and provide some insight into the current political climate.
If you are one of the many Democrats who wake up each morning wondering how a Trump presidency could have happened, how a man so unfit for office could be living in the White House, whether there is any reason for hope, then hearing Raskin's presentation would have provided you with some level of comfort, maybe even inspiration.
Congressman Raskin made it clear that we are living in troubling times with the administration of one Donald J. Trump. However, the congressman also made it clear that it is the Constitution that gives us hope that our democratic ideals will ultimately win out and protect American values.


Congress struggles to be more HONEST about transparency

  • Published in News

CAPITOL HILL – Republicans in Congress are having a second go at a measure they say will increase transparency of federal environmental regulations.

On March 29, the House of Representatives voted 228-194 to pass the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act (HONEST Act), which prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing an action, including a new regulation, unless the scientific and technical information used to make that decision is “the best available science; specifically identified; and publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”

Both Maryland Reps. Anthony Brown (D-4) and Steny Hoyer (D-5) voted against the measure.


Promises, promises and the Dionne Warwick lament

Trump face

Oh, promises, their kind of promises, can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises, take all the joy from life
– by Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Elections, as we have all recently learned, have consequences. No one should be surprised that promises made by the elected candidate during the campaign run the risk of being implemented after the winner takes office.


Maryland Congress members speak out against Trump in Silver Spring town hall

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING – Members of Congress representing Montgomery County appeared at a town hall meeting to express their concerns Sunday about President Donald J. Trump’s choices on various issues, from healthcare to Syrian refugees.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D) and Ben Cardin (D) as well as Congressmen John Delaney (D-6), Jamie Raskin (D-8) and John Sarbanes (D-3) spoke on a number of topics before taking questions from constituents in the audience. They said they did not believe Trump’s decisions and remarks on current challenges facing the U.S. coincided with community interests. 


'How many more people have to die?'

  • Published in Local

Congress grills Metro managers on ills

metro logo

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress pointed fingers at witnesses called to testify about Metro’s SafeTrack program Friday, including a federal safety official, Metro’s board chairman and a Metro union representative.

"How many more people have to die before we get you to act?" Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) asked Federal Transit Administration Executive Director Matthew Welbes.


John Sarbanes wins sixth term to House

  • Published in Local

Election Night 2016 4Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3) PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

The election for the Maryland’s third congressional district came to a close with Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3) winning a sixth term, defeating Republican nominee Dr. Mark Plaster 62.7 percent to 34.4 percent.

In Montgomery County, voter percentages for Sarbanes totaled 72.4 percent with 34,328 votes while Plaster won 25.1 percent with 11,888 votes.

Sarbanes has been active politician in the area compared to the newcomer Plaster. His issues address climate change, jobs in the economy, improving the affordable care act, and veteran issues.

“For me it wasn’t so much about my opponent, it was about reinforcing the important things that I think I’ve done in this election campaign,” said Sarbanes.


Delaney defeats GOP’s Hoeber for third term in sixth district

  • Published in Local

220px-John Delaney 113th Congress official photo

GAITHERSBURG – Representative John Delaney (D-6) won a third term to the House of Representatives Tuesday defeating Republican nominee Amie Hoeber.

“I’m so blessed to have such amazing supporters, friends, and volunteers,” Delaney said. “We’re going to have to, as a country move on from this, [people] don’t like the dark money, the partisan political gains.”

“I’m humbled, the thing about the House [of Representatives] is that the constituents have to decide if they like the job you’re doing,” Delaney added.


County's congressmen talk gerrymandering

  • Published in Local

Representatives from Maryland’s congressional delegation said they are working on ending gerrymandering in the state after a three-judge panel decided to allow a lawsuit against the state’s congressional district boundaries to go forward.

The case Shapiro v. McManus alleges that Maryland’s sixth congressional district violates the rights of Republicans to freely associate after the state legislature redrew the congressional districts in 2011.

After the two-one vote by a panel of federal judges on Aug. 24 in Baltimore, the case will go to trial and could potentially end up being heard by the United States Supreme Court.

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