Jamie Raskin was born in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 1962, to a Jewish family, the son of progressive activist Marcus Raskin, a former staff aide to President John F. Kennedy on the National Security Council and co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, and Barbara (née Bellman) Raskin, a journalist and novelist. He graduated from Georgetown Day School in 1979, from Harvard (magna cum laude) in 1983, and from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1987. He is a past editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Raskin taught constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years. He served as the Director of the college’s LL.M. program on Law and Government. Raskin authored several books, including the Washington Post best-seller Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People and We the Students: Supreme Court Cases For and About America’s Students.
In November 2006, he was elected as a Maryland State Senator for District 20, representing parts of Silver Spring and Takoma Park in Montgomery County. In 2012, he was named the Majority Whip for the Senate, and was the Chairman of the Montgomery County Senate Delegation, Chairman of the Select Committee on Ethics Reform, and a Member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Raskin was a strong proponent of liberal issues in the Maryland Senate. He sponsored bills advocating same-sex marriage, repealing the death penalty, expanding of the state Ignition interlock device program, and the establishment of the legal guidelines for Benefit Corporations, a corporate form for-profit entities that wish to consider a material societal benefit in their bylaws and decision making process.
Raskin also introduced Senate legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland in 2014. The bill was signed by Martin O’Malley and went into effect in January 2015.
In 2016, the 8th district’s seven-term incumbent, fellow Democrat Chris Van Hollen, gave up his seat to make an ultimately successful run for the United States Senate. Raskin won the seat, defeating Republican Dan Cox with 60% of the vote. Raskin’s district includes parts of Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick Counties.
Raskin is a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the Committee on House Administration. Raskin is also a member of the House Democratic Leadership Team – he was elected Caucus Leadership Representative and will represent the five most junior classes of the Caucus at the leadership table.
In his first action as a congressman, Raskin, with several other members of House of Representatives, objected to certifying the election of Donald Trump as President because of Russian interference in the election and voter suppression efforts. Vice President Joseph Biden ruled the objection out of order because it had to be sponsored by at least one member of each chamber, and there was no Senate sponsor.
In April 2018, Raskin, along with Jared Huffman, Jerry McNerney, and Dan Kildee, launched the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Its stated goals include “pushing public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values,” promoting the “separation of church and state,” and opposing discrimination against “atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons.”
Raskin was reelected to the 116th Congress in 2018 with 67% of the vote.
He is married to Sarah Bloom Raskin, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Federal Reserve Board in 2010. She also served as the United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from March 19, 2014-January 20, 2017.
Raskin and his wife live in Takoma Park. They have three children: Tabitha, Tommy, and Hannah.