Justin Amash is a Republican member of Congress; he represents the Grand Rapids area of Michigan. Amash, who is known for taking unconventional positions, recently said that he had not ruled out running for the presidency as a Libertarian in 2020. The Michigan representative also recently found himself at the center of buzz on social media after he tweeted his response to the president’s executive order. Amash also tweeted out a thread with his views on how national emergencies and the division of powers work under US law.
This isn’t the first time that Amash, who’s been in Congress since 2011, has taken an unconventional stance. Back in 2013, the Michigan congressman introduced a bill that would have severely limited the NSA’s ability to collect phone and internet data from Americans. Amash has won praise from the ACLU and sharp criticism from some in his own party. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Amash Said President Trump Was ‘Attempting to Circumvent Our Constitutional System’
After President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday morning, Amash took to Twitter to give his opinion. The Michigan Congressman wrote, “A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is void. A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act. @POTUS @realDonaldTrump is attempting to circumvent our constitutional system.”
Amash later tweeted out a thread laying out his case that the president had acted incorrectly. Amash argued that, while the president of the United States does have the right to declare a national emergency, he may only do so in cases where Congress has had no opportunity to act. Amash stressed that declaring a state of emergency should be for extreme cases, like attacks on the nation. He wrote:
“Going back to the Framers of the Constitution, Americans have recognized the president’s inherent power as chief executive to act swiftly in an emergency, especially a sudden attack on the United States. But such power exists only so long as Congress has no opportunity to act.”
2. Amash Won Praise from Democrats After His Thread on National Emergencies
Amash’s colleagues from the other side of the aisle took to Twitter to praise the Michigan Congressman for his series of tweets. Representative Pramila Jayapaul, of Washington State, wrote, “If only all Republicans understood the Constitution like @justinamash.” And Representative Ted Lieu, of California, wrote, “This is another example of why Rep @JustinAmash is my favorite #GOP Member of Congress. Great thread on why the #NationalEmergencyDeclaration by @realDonaldTrump in this instance violates our Constitution.”
3. Amash Describes Himself as a ‘Leading Advocate for Government Restraint’
Amash was first elected to Congress in 2011; he represents the area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amash’s website describes him as the “leading advocate for government restraint in the US House of Representatives.” Amash uses his Facebook page to explain every single vote he makes on the House floor. His website says of him, “Justin Amash is frequently recognized as America’s most accountable and transparent congressman. He earned this reputation by becoming the first and only member of Congress in the history of the United States to explain every vote he takes, which he does through his Facebook Page. Justin takes seriously his oath to support and defend the Constitution. He has been a principled and consistent defender of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”
4. Amash & His Wife Kara Have Three Children
Justin Amash is married to Kara, a former elementary school teacher and a graduate of Calvin College. The couple lives in Cascade Charter Township. They have three children.
Amash was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned a degree in economics from the University of Michigan and then went on to earn a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. After graduation, he worked for his family’s business, as a business lawyer, and then served as a Michigan state representative. He was elected to the US congress in 2011. Amash is a member of the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.
5. Amash’s Parents Immigrated to the US from the Middle East
Amash’s father, Attalah, was a Palestinian Christian who spent the early part of his life in a refugee camp in the West Bank. In 1956, a church in the US sponsored him to come to the United States. Attalah arrived in Michigan with just 17 dollars in his pocket. But he met and married his wife, Mimi, a Syrian immigrant, and together they opened a successful hardware store. They had three sons – Justin was the middle of the three boys.