Ripley: All Eyes on Amash


This piece is the first of a weekly series in which WAL Contributor Ryan Ripley will follow the moves of libertarian Republican Justin Amash.

After Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) retired it was unclear who would take up the mantle of liberty and assume the role of the defender of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. Michigan Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) is making a strong case that he is the man for the job. He has stuck to the principles of limited government and the non-interventionist position on foreign policy that earned Congressman Paul the respect and loyalty of libertarians and conservatives nationwide.

The 33-year old congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan has caught the ire of establishment Republicans largely due to only voting along party lines 77 percent of the time. Former advisor to President George W. Bush and failed GOP king-maker Karl Rove went as far as to call Congressman Amash “the most liberal Republican” in Congress.

Congressman Amash took to social media to defend his voting record. In fact, if you want an explanation for every vote that Amash casts, you can find them on his Face Book page. It does not take long to realize from his comments that Amash will vote against any legislation that he believes to be unconstitutional – regardless of the party or representative advocating for the bill.

Here are some of his recent Facebook comments on an amendment to the Farm Bill:

“I voted yes on the Marino of PA Part B Amendment 41 to H R 1947, which repeals the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, a federal program that provides grants to nonprofits to educate fleet operators and the public on the benefits of using biodiesel fuels instead of fossil fuels. We need a comprehensive approach to energy, and the federal government shouldn’t be favoring one industry over another. It failed 194-230.”

With his principled approach to legislating, it is not surprising that Amash enjoys a 100 percent rating from The Cato Institute, Freedom Works, and Club for Growth.

In a recent move that will further inflame Karl Rove and will likely cause John McCain to call him a “wacko bird,” Amash sent a tweet to his followers that explained his intentions to defund the NSA with amendments to the Department of Defense appropriation bill that is currently under consideration in the House.

“Most important bill this week: DoD Approps. We can defund #NSA’s unconstitutional spying on Americans-if House leaders allow amendments.” – Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) – July 15th

The amendment blocks funds from being used to “collect tangible things pursuant to an order under section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 if such things to no pertain to a person who is the subject to an investigation.”

Amash faces an uphill battle as some law makers seek to prevent such amendments from being considered. The Hill published parts of a letter written by Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) to his fellow congressmen about possible rule changes for H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014.

“While this is not the traditional process for this bill, there are a number of sensitive and ongoing issues related to national security that are more appropriately handled through an orderly amendment process ensuring timely consideration of this important measure.”

Congressman Amash is not afraid to make waves as he continues to put liberty above ideology. His latest move to defund the NSA’s ability to spy on American citizens is just one of his many stands for civil liberties. He is the new conscience of the House of Representatives and is a person that all lovers of individual freedom and liberty should be following.

Watch the video below to learn more about Congressman Amash and his views on the current political landscape.

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Ryan Ripley is a 34 year old husband and father of two living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a BS in Business Administration. Prior to joining the Libertarian Party, Ryan unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Marshall County Council in 2010 and on the Plymouth Common Council in 2011 as a Democrat. During that time he also served as the acting Chairman of the Marshall County Democratic Party. Ryan is on Twitter (@ryanripley) and can be reached at

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