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   How Do US Representatives from MD Stack Up on Civil Liberties?


How Do US Representatives from MD Stack Up on Civil Liberties?

The American Civil Liberties Union tracks the records of US Senators and Representatives to assess their positions on key issues related to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. In this chart, a "+" indicates a vote was in accord with the ACLU position. The percentages reflect the ACLU's overall "grade" for performance. Following the chart is an explanation of the legislation referred to, and a synopsis of each measure. "NV"=No Vote.

Key Votes
Maryland Reps.12345678910111213Score
1. Gilchrest (R)+--+-++----NV-33%
2. Ehrlich (R)NV-----+--+---17%
3. Cardin (D)+++++++-+-+++85%
4. Wynn (D)+++-+++-+-+++77%
5. Hoyer (D)+++++++-+-+++85%
6. Bartlett (R)---------+---8%
7. Cummings (D)+++-+++++-+++85%
8. Morella (R)+++-+++---+++69%
Warning: Messrs. Ehrlich and Bartlett vote according to fascist or dictatorial beliefs, though politicians will say anything near election time. Ehrlich is now polling equal with Townsend among likely voters in the governor's race.

  1. H.R. 1646, Amendment 34 -- Global Gag Rule
  2. H.R. 503 -- Fetal Rights
  3. H.R. 1 -- Voucher Scheme
  4. H. J. Res 36 -- Flag Desecration Amendment
  5. H.R. 7 -- Government-Funded Religion
  6. H.R. 2590 -- Travel to Cuba
  7. H.R. 2944 (House Amdt. 310) -- Domestic Partnership
  8. H.R. 3162 -- Overbroad Anti-Terrorism Legislation
  9. H.R. 3295 -- Ineffective Election Reform
  10. H.R. 2356 -- Campaign Finance Reform
  11. HR 476 -- Teen Endangerment Act
  12. HR 2646 -- Food Stamps for Immigrants
  13. H.R. 4737 -- Welfare Reauthorization

1 - H.R. 1646, Amendment 34 -- Global Gag Rule
By a vote of 218 to 210, the House passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) to stop an attempt to overturn a dangerous and anti-democratic measure that denies crucial U.S. financial aid to foreign non-governmental organizations that use their own money to perform or discuss abortion in their countries. The ACLU opposed this measure.

2 - H.R. 503 - Fetal Rights
By a vote of 252 to 172, the House passed a covert assault on reproductive rights called the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act." Written with the assistance of the National Right to Life Committee, this bill would be the first federal law to recognize a fetus at any stage of development, from conception forward, as an independent "victim" of a crime. The ACLU opposed this measure.

3 - H.R. 1 - Voucher Scheme
By a vote of 186 to 241, the House rejected an amendment to an education bill introduced by Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX). This proposed legislation would have created a national voucher program that would have diverted taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools. The ACLU opposed the amendment.

4 - H. J. Res 36 - Flag Desecration Amendment
The House of Representatives voted by a slim 8-vote margin to once again approve a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban desecration of the American flag. Although the amendment passed, it did so with less than 300 votes. Introduced by Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-CA, the constitutional amendment would be the first to restrict the freedoms guaranteed Americans by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU opposed the amendment, which was approved by a vote of 298 to 125. (To be added to the Constitution, an amendment must receive a two-thirds votes in both the House (290 votes) and the Senate (67 votes) and be ratified by three-quarters of the states.)

5 - H.R. 7 - Government-Funded Religion
The House of Representatives voted by a 233-198 margin to pass the "Community Solutions Act of 2001" (H.R. 7). The ACLU said that the legislation, which would implement President Bush's faith-based initiative, would allow for the creation of government-funded religion by removing restrictions on how religious organizations incorporate their beliefs into the delivery of taxpayer-funded social services. H.R. 7 would also allow public funds to be used for discrimination in the employment and provision of social services. The ACLU opposed this measure.

6 - H.R. 2590 -- Travel to Cuba
By a vote of 240 to 186, the House passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to an annual spending bill that would prohibit the federal government from enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on travel to Cuba. The ACLU supported this amendment.

7 - H.R. 2944 (House Amdt. 310) - Domestic Partnership
By a vote of 194 to 226, the House voted down an amendment introduced by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) to the DC Appropriations Bill that would have blocked the implementation of Washington, D.C.'s domestic partnership law. Every year since 1992, Congress has blocked a measure passed by the D.C. City Council that would allow city employees to purchase health insurance for their partners and provide hospital visitation rights to other domestic partners in the city. This vote represents the first time in history that Congress has voted against a specific attack on same-sex relationships. The ACLU opposed the Weldon amendment.

8 - H.R. 3162 - Overbroad Anti-Terrorism Legislation
On October 24, 2001, the House of Representatives voted to pass the "USA PATRIOT Act of 2001" by a margin of 357-66. The legislation will give enormous, unwarranted power to the executive branch unchecked by meaningful judicial review. This new authority could be used against American citizens in routine criminal investigations unrelated to terrorism, immigrants within our borders legally, and those whose First Amendment activities are deemed threats to national security by the Attorney General. The legislation was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The ACLU opposed the measure.

9 - H.R. 3295 - Ineffective Election Reform
By a vote of 197 to 226, the House rejected an effort to return to committee, election reform legislation that does little to address the serious problems in our voting system. The legislation, introduced by Reps. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), allows any state to opt-out of federal standards. As result, this legislation would be ineffective in addressing the disparities in voting equipment, as well as the serious problems facing language minorities and persons with disabilities. The ACLU opposed the Ney-Hoyer legislation and supported this motion to return the bill to committee.

10 - H.R. 2356 -- Campaign Finance Reform
By a vote of 240 to 189, the House adopted a campaign finance measure introduced by Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT). The ACLU opposed the measure because it would establish limits that effectively bar any individual or group from explicitly criticizing a public official standing for re-election within 60 days of the election. [The scoring of this vote is in dispute at the ACLU.]

11 - HR 476 -- Teen Endangerment Act
Introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, this legislation would make criminals out of anyone other than a parent -- including a grandmother, aunt or older sister -- who helps a teenager travel to another state for an abortion. The bill, officially called the "Child Custody Protection Act," but nicknamed the Teen Endangerment Act, would make it a federal crime for a person to help a young woman travel across state lines to obtain an abortion unless she has already fulfilled the requirements of her home state's parental consent or notification laws. The ACLU opposed the bill, which was passed by a vote of 260 - 161.

12 - HR 2646 -- Food Stamps for Immigrants
Introduced by Representative Joe Baca (D-CA42), this motion amends the 2002 Agricultural Bill to make food stamps available for immigrant children and persons with disabilities, refugees and legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for five years or have met certain work requirements. The prohibition on food stamps for immigrants is unfair, un-American and based only on coarse discrimination against non-citizens. Additionally, it impacts hurt US citizens as well: non-citizen parents are often wary or fearful of applying for food stamp benefits for their children who, as they were born in the United States, are citizens. Such understandable fear and confusion threatens the well-being and survival of these children. The ACLU supported the measure, which passed by a vote of 244 to 171.

13 - H.R. 4737 - Welfare Reauthorization
The ACLU criticized this legislation, introduced by Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH), because it would lead to significant violations of the core civil liberties of welfare recipients and would do little to address poverty reduction. The ACLU opposed the bill, which passed by a vote of 229-197.

See to see results for all US Representatives and Senators. The ACLU website is at

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This story was published on August 7, 2002.

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