Bipartisan House Members Announce Fourth Amendment Caucus
WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by co-chairs U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas), announced the newly formed Fourth Amendment Caucus to protect the privacy and security of Americans in the digital age.
The bipartisan caucus is comprised of twenty-five founding members, thirteen Republicans and twelve Democrats. The members will lead efforts in the House of Representatives to protect against warrantless searches and seizures, close privacy violating surveillance loopholes, and champion reform efforts to protect and restore Fourth Amendment rights.
“Members of the House of Representatives from both parties are eager to debate and vote on privacy and surveillance issues that are far too often drafted in secret and jammed through the legislative process under tight deadlines, restrictive procedures, and little debate,” said Lofgren. “From shutting the backdoor on warrantless spying to leading efforts to protect privacy, this Fourth Amendment Caucus gives members a new, nonpartisan forum for ideas, organization, and strategy as we fight to protect the Constitution and the American people.”
“As technology continues to evolve and improve, Congress must ensure that the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens are protected,” said Poe. “Technology may change, but the Constitution does not.”
“Our laws regarding freedom, privacy and civil liberties have not kept up with the rapid expansion of technology in today’s digital age,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). “I look forward to working with the bipartisan coalition united behind this caucus to protect and strengthen the Fourth Amendment rights granted to each and every American under our Constitution.”
“A caucus dedicated to defending Americans’ Fourth Amendment-secured rights is needed now more than ever, and its formation illustrates the growing awareness among the American public and their representatives in Congress of the far-reaching implications of the surveillance state,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). “In the face of difficult circumstances, some are quick to pursue extreme, unconstitutional measures; the Fourth Amendment Caucus will be a moderating influence that gives voice to countless Americans whose rights are violated by these ill-conceived policies.”
"Our founding fathers crafted the Fourth Amendment to withstand the test of time and protect our fundamental right to privacy, but they never could have anticipated today’s world of smartphones and connected cars, said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). “With rapidly changing technology and evolving security threats come constant pressures to shift the line between our privacy and acceptable government access to our information. It is time that that Congress had a formal, bipartisan group to share ideas and strategize how to keep that line in check. I am honored to stand with my colleagues today to launch the Fourth Amendment Caucus to keep privacy concerns at the forefront of our debates."
"Congress has passed, and continues to pass, dangerous legislation without regard for our Constitution,” said Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.). "The Fourth Amendment Caucus presents a nonpartisan opportunity to discuss ways to protect our right to privacy."
In addition to the announcement, an expert panel discussed Fourth Amendment Issues confronting Congress, moderated by the newly formed Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee. Panel members included Alvaro M. Bedoya, Executive Director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, Mike Godwin from the R Street Institute, Neema Singh Guliani, Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, and Sean Vitka, Director of the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee.
Founding Members of the Fourth Amendment Caucus:
Ted Poe (R-TX) [Co-Chair]