Official portrait, 2015
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Michigan's 3rd district
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2021
|Preceded by||Vern Ehlers|
|Succeeded by||Peter Meijer|
|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives|
from the 72nd district
January 14, 2009 – January 12, 2011
|Preceded by||Glenn Steil|
|Succeeded by||Ken Yonker|
|Born||April 18, 1980|
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
|Political party||Libertarian (2020–present)|
|Republican (until 2019)|
|Education||University of Michigan (BA, JD)|
|Part of a series on|
|Libertarianism in the|
Justin Amash (// ə-MAHSH; born April 18, 1980) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district from 2011 to 2021. Originally a member of the Republican Party, Amash became an independent in July 2019 before joining the Libertarian Party in April 2020, becoming the first and only Libertarian Party congressman to date. Amash did not run for reelection in 2020.
A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amash was born to Arab Christian parents who had emigrated to the United States. After high school, he studied economics at the University of Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, and then briefly worked as a corporate lawyer and consultant before entering politics.
Amash represented the 72nd district in the Michigan House of Representatives for one term before being elected to Congress in 2010. From 2011 to 2019, Amash missed only one of 5,374 roll call votes. He is the founder and chairperson of the Liberty Caucus and was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, which he left in June 2019. Amash received national attention when he became the first Republican congressman to call for the impeachment of Donald Trump, a position he maintained after leaving the party.
After months of speculation that he would enter the presidential race, Amash announced the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination in April 2020. The next month, however, he announced that he would not run.
Early life and education
Justin Amash was born on April 18, 1980, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the second of three sons born to Arab Christian parents who had emigrated to the United States. His father, Attallah Amash, is a Palestinian Christian whose family lived in Ramla until they were forcibly expelled by Israeli soldiers during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Attallah and his family immigrated to the United States in 1956 when he was 16 through the sponsorship of an American pastor in Muskegon, Michigan. Amash's mother, Mimi, is a Syrian Christian who met his father through family friends in Damascus, Syria, and the two married in 1974.
Amash grew up in Kentwood, Michigan. He first attended Kelloggsville Christian School in Kentwood, then Grand Rapids Christian High School, from which he graduated in 1998 as class valedictorian. He then attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with high honors. Amash then attended the University of Michigan Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2005.
After graduating from law school, Amash spent less than a year as a lawyer at the Grand Rapids law firm Varnum LLP. He then became a consultant to Michigan Industrial Tools Inc. (also known as Tekton Inc.), a company his father founded and owns. He worked for his family's business for a year before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008. Amash's two brothers also have positions at Michigan Industrial Tools.
Michigan House of Representatives
Glenn D. Steil Jr., the incumbent state representative for Michigan's 72nd House District, was unable to run for reelection in the 2008 election due to term limits. Amash ran in the Republican primary and defeated four other candidates before defeating Democratic nominee Albert Abbasse in the general election.
During his initial tenure in the State House, Amash sponsored five resolutions and twelve bills, but none of them passed. While in the State House, he began using his Twitter and Facebook pages to report his floor votes and explain his reasoning and had a government transparency page on his website that would allow people to view the members and salaries of his staff.
U.S. House of Representatives
Republican (Until 2019)
On February 9, 2010, Amash announced that he would run for the Republican nomination for Michigan's third congressional district and the next day incumbent Representative Vern Ehlers announced that he would not seek reelection. During the primary campaign he was endorsed by Betsy and Dick DeVos, the Club for Growth, Representative Ron Paul, and FreedomWorks PAC. In the Republican primary he defeated four other candidates and shortly before the general election he was named as one of Time magazine's "40 under 40 – Rising Stars of U.S. Politics". During the campaign he advocated politics supported by the Tea Party movement and defeated Democratic nominee Patrick Miles Jr. in the general election.
The House Republican Steering Committee removed Amash from the House Budget Committee on December 3, 2012, as part of a larger party leadership-caucus shift. He joined Representatives Tim Huelskamp and David Schweikert in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, demanding to know why they had lost their committee positions. A spokesperson for Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia said that Amash, Huelskamp, and Schweikert had been removed for "their inability to work with other members." Politico said that the three were "the first members pulled off committees as punishment for political or personality reasons in nearly two decades".:p.2
Following the retirement of Senator Carl Levin it was speculated that Amash would run in the 2014 Senate election and Senator Mike Lee encouraged him to run, but Amash chose to run for reelection to the House.
Amash was endorsed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth PAC, which spent over $500,000 supporting Amash in his Republican primary against former East Grand Rapids School Trustee Brian Ellis, who was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and spent more than $1 million of his own money on the race.
After Amash defeated Ellis in the August primary, with 57% of the vote to Ellis's 43%, Amash was highly critical of Ellis and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, who had backed Ellis. Of Hoekstra, Amash said, "You are a disgrace. And I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance." Amash took exception to one of Ellis's television ads that quoted California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes calling Amash "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress"; he demanded an apology from Ellis for running what he called a "disgusting, despicable smear campaign." As Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic notes, "Amash voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, favored a measure to repeal indefinite detention, and opposed reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act." In the general election, Amash won reelection against Democratic nominee Bob Goodrich.
In 2011, Amash endorsed Representative Ron Paul's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. In 2015, he endorsed Senator Rand Paul's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and later endorsed Senator Ted Cruz after Paul dropped out.
On July 8, 2019, days after announcing that he was leaving the Republican Party, Amash formally submitted his resignation to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Leader Liz Cheney. In the process, he resigned his seat on the Committee on Oversight and Reform. If he had not resigned, he would have been automatically removed and replaced with another member upon his departure from the House Republican Conference. House rules state that standing committee memberships "shall be contingent on continuing membership in the party caucus or conference" which assigned the legislator to that committee.
In April 2020, Amash switched parties to the Libertarian Party; in the process, Amash became the first Libertarian member to serve in either house of Congress. That same month, he announced the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination, but in May 2020, he announced he would not run due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2020, Amash implied that he would not seek reelection to the House, saying that he would "miss" representing his constituency in Congress.
Amash has described himself as a libertarian, dissenting from both Republican and Democratic leaderships more frequently than the vast majority of Republican members of Congress. Amash is regarded as one of the most libertarian members of Congress, receiving high scores from right-leaning interest groups such as the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America, and Americans for Prosperity, and praise from limited-government think tanks and nonprofit organizations. He was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans in the House. In June 2019, Amash left the caucus. On July 4, 2019, he announced that he was leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. He officially announced his membership in the Libertarian Party in late April 2020.
Before leaving the GOP, Amash gained a reputation as a gadfly within the Republican Party; his staunchly libertarian and sometimes contrarian views resulted at times in disagreements with party leadership and other members of the Michigan congressional delegation. Amash is outspoken about the American two-party system. In a 2020 interview, he argued that national politicians now focused on media perception of their party, whereas "the actual process of legislating is all but forgotten."
Amash has called economists F. A. Hayek and Frédéric Bastiat his "biggest heroes" and political inspirations and has described himself as "Hayekian libertarian." When The New York Times asked him to explain his approach to voting on legislation, he replied, "I follow a set of principles. I follow the Constitution. And that's what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty."
Amash opposes abortion and federal funding for abortion. He describes himself as "100 percent pro-life" and in 2017 voted in favor of federal legislation to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Amash voted "present", rather than "yes" or "no", on the 2011 Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which provided for the cessation of federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Although he supports eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood, he abstained from defunding legislation, arguing that "legislation that names a specific private organization to defund (rather than all organizations that engage in a particular activity) is improper" and an "arguably unconstitutional" bill of attainder.
In May 2012, Amash was one of seven Republicans to vote against the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act, which would have made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a woman who wants to end a pregnancy based on the gender of the fetus. He criticized the bill as ineffective and virtually impossible to enforce, and said Congress "should not criminalize thought", while maintaining that he believes "all abortion should be illegal".
On February 26, 2020, he was one of four representatives who voted against the "Justice for Victims of Lynching Act", which recognized lynching as a federal hate crime, stating that it would expand the use of the death penalty and that the acts criminalized by the bill are already illegal under federal law.
Drug policy and police reform
Amash has supported efforts to reform cannabis laws in Congress, including the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in 2017 (which he cosponsored) and the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in 2020. Both bills sought to legalize cannabis at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.
In 2015, Amash and Representative Ted Lieu (D–CA) introduced a bill to block the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Cannabis Eradication Program through civil asset forfeiture. Amash took aim at asset forfeiture in a statement, saying the practice allows "innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process". In December 2020, Amash introduced a bill titled the Civil Asset Forfeiture Elimination Act to abolish the practice nationwide.
In June 2020, Amash and Pressley introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act which would remove from law enforcement officers, and other officials, the protection of qualified immunity that routinely protects them from civil lawsuits.
In March 2010, Amash was the only member of the Michigan House of Representatives to vote against making benzylpiperazine a schedule I drug, saying that penalties for nonviolent crimes shouldn't be increased.
Amash opposes government bailouts and tax increases.
In 2011, Amash introduced H.J. Res. 81, a Constitutional amendment proposal that would require a balanced budget over the business cycle with a ten-year transition to balance. That same year, he was one of four House Republicans who joined 161 Democrats to oppose an alternative balanced budget resolution without a federal spending cap.
Energy and environment
Amash has criticized the Environmental Protection Agency, arguing that many environmental regulations are too strict. He voted for the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which would have amended the Clean Air Act of 1963 to prohibit the EPA from regulating specified greenhouse gases as air pollutants. In a 2017 debate, Amash "exaggerated uncertainty around the basics of climate science"—specifically, the scientific consensus that carbon emissions cause climate change. But in a 2020 interview, Amash said that climate change is a real and "very important" issue, that he believes climate change is being driven at least in part by human activity and that "action with respect to climate change" should be taken. Amash opposes regulations to combat climate change, arguing that we should instead "use clean technologies and to invent new technologies that will keep our environment clean." He opposed Obama's decision to sign the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, voted against legislation to block Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, and voted for legislation "expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy." He opposes government subsidies for nuclear energy or any other form of energy production.
Amash was the only representative from Michigan to oppose federal aid in response to the Flint water crisis, arguing that "the U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to intervene in an intrastate matter like this one." He contended that "the State of Michigan should provide comprehensive assistance to the people of Flint" instead.
Amash opposes political gerrymandering, saying in 2018 that he strongly supported adopting "an independent process for drawing districts" based on geographic considerations, so that districts would be "as compact and contiguous as possible." Amash was the only Republican member of Michigan's congressional delegation who did not join a federal lawsuit challenging the state's political boundaries.
On May 4, 2017, Amash voted in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and to pass a revised version of the American Health Care Act. Amash initially opposed the American Health Care Act, describing it as "Swampcare", tweeting that "It didn't take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump" and criticizing House leadership for attempting to "ram it through." Nevertheless, Amash voted for the updated AHCA plan before the Congressional Budget Office could determine its impact or cost.
Amash has pointed to structural problems in how Congress operates. He believes that many members have put "party above principles," in both the Democratic and Republican parties. He notes that many in Congress lack an understanding of parliamentary procedure, allowing leadership to dictate what legislation is passed. Amash notes that campaign finance poses significant challenges, but states, "I don’t know how to resolve it because I’m a big believer in free speech."
In November 2011, he was one of nine representatives who voted against a House resolution that affirmed In God We Trust as the official motto of the United States and was the only Republican to do so. On February 13, 2013, he voted against the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013, which would make all places of religious worship eligible for FEMA grants, stating that bill "skews the law away from fairness by making religious buildings automatically eligible for reconstruction aid when other entities aren’t."
While running for the House of Representatives in 2010, Amash supported the Defense of Marriage Act, but in 2013 he advocated repealing it, saying that the "real threat to traditional marriage & religious liberty is government, not gay couples who love each other & want to spend lives together". He supported the result of Obergefell v. Hodges (in which the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples cannot be deprived of the fundamental right to marry) on the grounds that government-issued marriage licenses should not be "necessary to validate the intimate relationships of consenting adults."
Security and surveillance
In 2013, Amash and 15 other members of Congress filed an amicus brief in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court supporting the release of the Court's unpublished opinions regarding the "meaning, scope, and constitutionality" of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. On June 12, 2013, he called for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to resign due to him stating that the NSA did not collect data at a Senate committee hearing in March.
In 2013, Amash was one of two Republicans to vote in favor of closing Guantanamo Bay and transferring its detainees. The amendment by Representative Adam Smith would have eliminated all funding for the detention facility by December 31, 2014, removed all limitations on the transfer of detainees, removed a ban on the transfer of detainees to the United States and removed statutes that had banned the use of taxpayer funds for the construction of facilities in the United States for those detainees. It failed on a 174–249 vote.
In 2016, Amash was one of three Republicans to vote in favor of an amendment to close Guantánamo Bay and potentially allow federal officials to transfer detainees to facilities in the United States. It failed on a 163–259 vote.
Amash opposed President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to ban citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. Amash said: "Like President Obama's executive actions on immigration, President Trump's executive order overreaches and undermines our constitutional system."
Amash proposed an amendment to the reauthorization bill of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Amash amendment would have required the government in criminal cases to seek a warrant based on probable cause before searching surveillance data for information about Americans. While the Amash amendment received bipartisan support as well as support from civil liberties groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 183 to 233.
Suicide prevention hotline
In July 2018, Amash was the only member of the U.S. House to vote against creating a three-digit national suicide prevention hotline. He argued that Congress lacked the constitutional power to pass the legislation, saying it was a "good idea" but lacked a "constitutional basis". Freelance journalist Jim Higdon asked Amash how the Constitution prohibits "preventing suicide by hotline"; Amash responded, "The correct question under our Constitution is: What is the authority for the legislation? We live under a Constitution that grants Congress limited, enumerated powers."
In 2017, Amash was one of two dozen Republicans to vote against an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited taxpayer funds from being used by the Department of Defense to provide gender transition support to military members. He said, “Those who serve in our Armed Forces deserve the best medical care...With respect to transgender persons, we should focus on the best science, not the political or philosophical opinions of partisans”.
In 2019, Amash voted "present" on a resolution objecting to Trump's restrictions on transgender individuals in the military.
In May 2020, Amash announced he would support and protect transgender Americans, saying, “I think that people can take the term ‘sex’ that's in federal law and interpret it to mean things beyond what it traditionally meant...I would protect transgender Americans under the protections that exist for sex".
At a January 2013 town hall event, Amash responded to a question about immigration reform, "I don't think you can just grab people and deport them...I think we need to have a system that is sympathetic to people, looks at their situations and allows as many people to stay here as possible." On March 21, 2013, he and five other representatives signed a letter to U.S. Senator Rand Paul supporting immigration reform in the form of a "three-pronged stool" of border security, expanding legal immigration and "addressing" immigrants who came here "knowingly and illegally". In August he explained his support for immigration reform, saying improving the legal immigration system to make it more accessible would lead to fewer illegal border crossings. He announced his support for a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. He also supported an eventual path to citizenship once the undocumented obtained legal status.
In July 2017, Amash was the only Republican to vote against Kate's law, a bill that increased maximum penalties for criminals who entered the U.S. illegally more than once. He later said he was concerned the bill did not have adequate 5th amendment due process protections for undocumented immigrants to challenge their removal orders.
In July 2018, House Republicans introduced a resolution supporting the officers and personnel of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Amash was the only Republican in the chamber to vote against the resolution. He tweeted, "The House voted today on an inane resolution regarding ICE. The resolution makes several dubious claims and denounces calls to abolish ICE. I wouldn't abolish ICE without an alternative, but there's no reason to treat a federal agency as though it's beyond reproach and reform."
In December 2018, Amash was one of eight House Republicans to vote against a stopgap government funding bill that included $5.7 billion in border wall funding. He tweeted, "This massive, wasteful spending bill—stuffed with unrelated items—passed 217–185. It's amazing how some wall funding causes my fellow Republicans to embrace big government."
In February 2019, Amash was the only House Republican to co-sponsor a resolution to block Trump's declaration of a national emergency to redirect funds to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without a congressional appropriation for such a project. He wrote, "A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is void", and "[Trump] is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system." On February 25, Amash was one of 13 House Republicans to vote to block Trump's declaration.
He believes only Congress has the power to declare war, and has criticized multiple military actions taken by Presidents Obama and Trump. In July 2011, he sponsored an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act that would have prevented funding for operations against Gaddafi's government and Amash later stated that President Obama's actions during the Libyan Civil War were unconstitutional without authorization from Congress. He criticized President Obama's intervention in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for proceeding without a Congressional declaration of war.
In 2011, Amash was one of six members of Congress who voted against House Resolution 268 reaffirming U.S. commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli–Palestinian negotiation, which passed with 407 members in support. In 2014 he was one of eight members of Congress who voted against a $225 million package to restock Israel's Iron Dome missile defenses, which passed with 398 members in support. He supports a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Amash joined 104 Democrats and 16 Republicans in voting against the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which specified the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense, calling it "one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime". Amash co-sponsored an amendment to the NDAA that would ban indefinite military detention and military trials so that all terror suspects arrested in the United States would be tried in civilian courts. He expressed concern that individuals charged with terrorism could be jailed for prolonged periods of time without ever being formally charged or brought to trial.
On March 14, 2016, Amash joined the unanimous vote in the House to approve a resolution declaring the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to be committing genocide against religious minorities in the Middle East (it passed 383–0), but joined Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) in voting against a separate measure creating an international tribunal to try those accused of participating in the alleged atrocities (it passed 392–3).
In 2017, Amash criticized U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, arguing that "Al Qaeda in Yemen has emerged as a de facto ally of the Saudi-led militaries with whom [Trump] administration aims to partner more closely."
In July 2017, Amash was one of only three House members to vote against the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a bill that imposed new economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The bill passed the House on a 419–3 vote, with Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and John Duncan Jr. (R-TN) also voting no. Trump initially opposed the bill, saying that relations with Russia were already "at an all-time and dangerous low", but ultimately signed it.
In January 2019, Amash voted against legislation that would prevent the President from unilaterally withdrawing from or altering NATO, although he subsequently said that he supports U.S. NATO membership, pointing to his 2017 vote to affirm NATO's Article 5.
In 2019, Amash signed a letter led by Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Rand Paul to Trump arguing that it is "long past time to rein in the use of force that goes beyond congressional authorization" and that they hoped this would "serve as a model for ending hostilities in the future – in particular, as you and your administration seek a political solution to our involvement in Afghanistan."
In October 2019, Amash criticized Trump's proposed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria for having "green-lighted" the 2019 Turkish offensive into northeastern Syria against Kurdish forces.
In January 2020, Amash voted in favor of the "No War Against Iran Act", which sought to block funding for the use of US military force in or against Iran unless Congress preemptively signed off. This proposed act is more restrictive than the 1973 War Powers Act, which requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days without congressional authorization. It passed the U.S. House on a 228–175 vote. Amash also voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force (AUMF), which passed the U.S. House on a 236–166 vote.
Criticism of Donald Trump
In 2016, Amash joined the list of Republicans who opposed the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. After Trump was elected president, the Huffington Post profiled him in an article titled "The One House Republican Who Can't Stop Criticizing Donald Trump"; Amash said, "I'm not here to represent a particular political party; I'm here to represent all of my constituents and to follow the Constitution."
After Representative John Lewis (D-GA) said that Trump was not a "legitimate president," Trump sent out a series of tweets on January 14, 2017, criticizing Lewis. Amash responded to Trump's tweets with one of his own: "Dude, just stop." Amash later explained, "The reason I did it is he wouldn't stop ... The way he feels so slighted about everything I think is not healthy for our country." Amash felt that Lewis' comments were "inappropriate" but said that Trump's response should have been "dignified and conciliatory to the extent possible" instead of "personal jabs, attacking his district".
In May 2017, Trump was accused of pressuring fired FBI director James Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Amash and Carlos Curbelo were the first Republican members of Congress to publicly state that the allegations, if proven true, merited impeachment.
In June 2018, the Huffington Post asked House Republicans, "If the president pardoned himself, would they support impeachment?" Amash was the only Republican who said "definitively he would support impeachment". In July 2018, Amash strongly criticized Trump's conduct at a meeting in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin, writing: "The impression it left on me, a strong supporter of the meeting, is that 'something is not right here.' The president went out of his way to appear subordinate. He spoke more like the head of a vassal state."
When Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee on February 27, 2019, Amash asked him, "What is the truth President Trump is most afraid of people knowing?" The Hill columnist Krystal Ball wrote, "Amash showed how someone actually can exercise oversight responsibility and try to get to the truth, even if the truth might not be in his party's short-term best interest." CNN editor Chris Cillizza wrote, "The Michigan Republican did something on Wednesday that almost none of his GOP colleagues seemed willing to even try: Ask Cohen questions about his relationship with Trump that might actually shed some new light on not only their relationship but on the President of the United States."
Comments on the Mueller Report
In May 2019, Amash said that Trump "has engaged in impeachable conduct" based on the obstruction of justice findings of the Mueller Report, which, Amash said, "few members of Congress have read". Amash also said that Attorney General William Barr "deliberately misrepresented" the report's findings and that partisanship was making it difficult to maintain checks and balances in the American political system. Amash was the first Republican member of Congress to call for Trump's impeachment. In response, Trump called Amash a "loser", accused him of "getting his name out there through controversy", and stated that the Mueller report had concluded that there was no obstruction of justice. Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, accused Amash of "parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia." She did not explicitly express support for a primary challenge against Amash, but tweeted, "voters in Amash's district strongly support this president." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, claimed that Amash "votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever does with me"; PolitiFact evaluated this as false. Republican Senator Mitt Romney described Amash's statement as "courageous", though he disagreed with Amash's conclusions. The New York Times reported that while many Republicans supported Trump in public, they criticized his actions in private. Shortly after making his remarks on impeachment, Amash received a standing ovation from the majority of attendees at a town hall meeting in his district. He told the crowd that Trump was setting a bad example for the nation's children.
Two days after Amash's comments, state representative James Lower announced that he will challenge Amash in the 2020 Republican primary, running as a self-described "pro-Trump conservative." Army National Guard member Thomas Norton announced his candidacy in April. Three other Republicans sought the nomination to oppose Amash; Peter Meijer won the August 4 primary.
Republican Party departure
On July 4, 2019, Amash announced in a Washington Post op-ed that he was "declaring his independence" from partisan politics and leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. Citing his extensive differences with both political parties, Amash wrote he felt partisan politics had become so overpowering that Congress no longer functioned as an independent legislative body: "We are fast approaching the point where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader." Amash thus became the only independent in the House of Representatives, and the first independent in the House since Bernie Sanders of Vermont (who left the House in 2007 after being elected to the Senate); and one of three independents in the United States Congress, along with Sanders and Senator Angus King of Maine.
On October 31, 2019, Amash was the only non-Democrat in the House to vote in favor of an impeachment inquiry against Trump in connection with the Trump-Ukraine scandal. On December 18, 2019, he voted in favor of both articles of impeachment against Trump, the only non-Democrat to vote in favor of either article. When Mitt Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump in his Senate trial, Amash tweeted, "Thank you, @SenatorRomney, for upholding your oath to support and defend the Constitution. You will never regret putting your faith in God and doing right according to the law and your conscience."
2020 presidential exploratory committee
On April 28, 2020, Amash announced the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian presidential nomination. On May 16, he withdrew his name from consideration for the Libertarian nomination, citing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that would make campaigning difficult, in addition to increased political polarization.
|Total votes||11,432||100.0% (rounded)|
|Democratic||Albert S. Abbasse||18,463||36.0%||+4.3%|
|Libertarian||William Wenzel III||1,559||3.0%||+1.6%|
|Total votes||51,267||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Louise E. Johnson||4,020||4.2%|
|Total votes||95,594||100.0% (rounded)|
|Democratic||Patrick Miles Jr.||83,953||37.5%||+2.1%|
|Total votes||224,063||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Justin Amash (incumbent)||171,675||52.6%||-7.1%|
|Libertarian||William J. Gelineau||10,498||3.2%||+2.0%|
|Independent||Steven Butler (write-in)||2||0.0%||+0.0%|
|Total votes||326,283||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Justin Amash (incumbent)||39,706||59.7%|
|Total votes||69,128||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Justin Amash (incumbent)||125,754||57.9%||+5.3%|
|Total votes||217,165||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Justin Amash (incumbent)||203,545||59.5%||+1.5%|
|Total votes||342,365||100.0% (rounded)|
|Republican||Justin Amash (incumbent)||169,107||54.4%||-5.0%|
|Independent||Joe Farrington (write-in)||3||0.0%||+0.0%|
|Total votes||310,740||100.0% (rounded)|
- None (July 8, 2019–present) (116th)
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (January 3, 2019–July 8, 2019) (116th)
- Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (116th)
- Subcommittee on National Security (116th)
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (115th)
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (114th)
- Joint Economic Committee (114th)
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (113th)
- Joint Economic Committee (113th)
- Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (112th)
- Joint Economic Committee (112th)
- Committee on the Budget (112th)
- Freedom Caucus (Founding member); resigned from the caucus June 10, 2019.
- Liberty Caucus (Founder and Chairman)
- Second Amendment Caucus (Founding member)
- List of Arab and Middle-Eastern Americans in the United States Congress
- List of American politicians who switched parties in office
- List of United States Representatives who switched parties
- "Biography". U.S. Representative Justin Amash. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
- "Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives, Member Information". house.gov. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
- Bowden, John (July 16, 2020). "Amash confirms he won't seek reelection". The Hill. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- Burke, Melissa Nann (July 16, 2020). "Amash not campaigning for re-election to his seat in Congress". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- "Justin Amash". govtrack.us. Archived from the original on January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- "Mich. lawmaker is guided by Constitution". Detroit Free Press. April 15, 2011. p. 5. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
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Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, is one of the most important civil libertarians in the House of Representatives. He isn't just a staunch opponent of the NSA's mass surveillance of Americans – he actually has a sophisticated understanding of surveillance policy (unlike the vast majority of his congressional colleagues) as well as a record of bringing forth actual reform proposals./Amash voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, favored a measure to repeal indefinite detention, and opposed reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act. Little wonder that an ACLU staffer told Mother Jones that he's 'a game changer.'
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Amash, 39, who identifies as a libertarian Republican, is considered among the most conservative members of the House. ... Conservative groups like the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Americans for Prosperity have awarded him lifetime ratings of more than 85 percent.
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Amash is one of the most conservative lawmakers in Congress, which gives him street cred when he calls for impeaching a Republican president. But Amash is also a different strain of conservative; he leans libertarian.
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15 were hard-line conservatives who wanted a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They are all members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are among the most conservative members of the House ... Justin Amash, MI-3
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With an unconventional approach to politics, Amash has chosen personal preferences over fealty to the Capitol Hill 'community' – alienating and isolating him from House leadership, his state's delegation and special interest groups ... As a congressman and earlier as a state representative, he made a name for himself as a contrarian who bucks party leadership based on inviolable personal beliefs.
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Amash ... has made a political career of going it alone. ... a libertarian with a contrarian streak.
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Though the text of the bill has yet to be released as of this writing, so the exact provisions remain unknown, Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) is partnering with Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) to introduce the 'End Qualified Immunity Act.' 'Qualified immunity was created by the Supreme Court in contravention of the text of the [Civil Rights Act of 1871] and the intent of Congress,' Amash argued in a letter urging colleagues to support his bill. 'It is time for us to correct their mistake [ ... and] ensure that those whose rights are violated by the police aren't forced to suffer the added injustice of being denied their day in court.'
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That proposal comes on the heels of the End Qualified Immunity Act, sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (L-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), which would end qualified immunity for all local and state government officials, not just police officers and prison guards.
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- Amash, Justin (January 23, 2019). "I didn't say it binds Congress into perpetuity; I said it contains a *current* statement of policy that "reject[s] any efforts" to substantially change this alliance anytime. I support NATO (see http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll328.xml …), but this bill includes reckless policy I can't support". External link in
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Norton is one of five Republicans running in a primary to unseat Rep. Justin Amash, I-Cascade, who left the Republican party in July.
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The only other independents in Congress, Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), caucus with Democrats in the Senate.
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- Justin Amash at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
|Michigan House of Representatives|
| Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 72nd district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd congressional district