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Civil and Voting Rights

Rep. Chu participated in the "NoH8" campaign to show her support for the LGBT community.

When the civil liberties of any group are violated, we all suffer Protecting the ideals of justice and equal protection under the law is necessary to ensure our country is one where all people are treated equal.

Our civil rights were earned by the blood, sweat and tears of those who came before us. I believe that all Americans deserve to have their rights protected and enforced. History has shown time and time again that systematic discrimination against any group of Americans is a threat to the freedom of all Americans.  Congress must work to end all forms of government-sanctioned discrimination, so every American can be treated equally and has a meaningful opportunity to participate in our democracy.

For these reasons, I am committed to standing up against racial and ethnic profiling, ensuring that all American citizens have the right to vote, supporting equal rights and opportunities for women, protecting marriage equality for all Americans, ensuring equal rights in the workplace and in housing, and fighting for meaningful campaign finance reform. 

Protecting the Voting Rights of All Americans
The right to vote is one of our most sacred rights and is fundamental to American democracy.  Unfortunately since 2011, there has been a concerted effort by state legislatures to pass laws that suppress the voting rights of Americans (over 160 laws have been introduced). These measures have made it harder for millions of Americans to vote – especially the elderly, our youth, the disabled and minorities.

For more than 40 years, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has been one of our best tools for combating discrimination—particularly in places with a history of discrimination. However, in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court significantly weakened the VRA in its decision in Shelby County v. Holder by striking down the formula used in the VRA to determine which states and local governments would need to obtain court approval before changing their voting laws or practices. Although the VRA was designed to prevent abusive practices in areas that had a history of voting discrimination, the Court held that the formula was implemented based on data that was too old. Without new legislation to undo the damage done by Shelby, minority communities are now at risk of being disenfranchised.

Restoring the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA). I am a co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Amendment Act, a bipartisan bill which modernizes the VRA to address current circumstances. The bill would work to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, and would also require public notice and transparency regarding any changes to: (1) voting prerequisites, standards, or procedures; (2) polling place resources; or (3) demographics and electoral districts.

Protecting Democracy for All Americans
American democracy has been centered on the fundamental principle of one person, one vote and the notion that we all have an equal voice and say over government decisions that affect our lives and our nation. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 eroded this principle by allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on American elections. The decision has very dangerous implications for the rights of Americans, as corporations are now able to make unlimited campaign donations without disclosing who they are.  In 2014, the Supreme Court further expanded the influence of money in politics, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which invalidated aggregate limits on how much a single donor could spend per an election cycle, making it easier for the very the wealthy to influence elections.

I am working to ensure every American has an equal voice in our elections by:

Overturning endless political spending under Citizens United. I am a cosponsor of the Democracy for All Amendment which would amend the U.S. Constitution to reverse the effects of Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, and limit the ability of corporations and the wealthiest donors to buy unlimited influence in our elections. This constitutional amendment would allow Congress and the States to regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.

Fighting for open and transparent campaign funding. I voted for H.R. 1 – a landmark anti-corruption bill. This bill would clean up our campaign finance laws to take dark money out of politics and increase disclosure requirements, both of which help voters understand what influences our decision making. And it also puts more power into the hands of our own auditors, the Office of Government Ethics to conduct more oversight and enforcement and put in stricter lobbying requirements. It’s not enough for us to demand integrity, we have to demonstrate it as well. This transparency will help our government run more efficiently and honestly, which is better for all of us.

More on Civil and Voting Rights

June 26, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The bill would make a number of reforms to policing to increase accountability and decrease violence, including banning chokeholds, ending the use of no-knock warrants for drug crimes, limiting the transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement, and mandating that body cameras be worn at all times by federal officers.

June 9, 2020 Press Release

Pasadena, CA –  Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) stands with House Democrats, who, led by Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This bill combats police brutality by banning chokeholds and requiring body and dashboard cameras. It removes the barriers to prosecuting police misconduct from officers who have violated civilians' rights and ends qualified immunity by law enforcement.

June 1, 2020 Press Release

Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement on the murder of George Floyd and the protests and riots that have followed in major cities across the nation:

December 6, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (VRAA). The VRAA is a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder that required Congress to create an updated coverage formula for determining if the Federal government can intervene in a state’s election laws. Since that Supreme Court decision, nearly two dozen states have implemented restrictive voter ID laws and created obstacles for people to vote.

September 24, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, following the first congressional hearing on President Trump’s Muslim ban, Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) and U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) urged Congress to take action on the NO BAN Act, legislation they introduced to immediately end the President’s Muslim ban and prevent another baseless, discriminatory ban from happening again. The hearing was jointly convened by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

July 24, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives unanimously approved of H.R. 3299, the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality (PRIDE) Act of 2019, introduced by Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Andy Levin (MI-09). The PRIDE Act would remove gendered language like “husband” and “wife” from the tax code to accommodate same sex couples.

July 3, 2019 Press Release

Today the Trump Administration announced that it would move forward with printing the 2020 census without a citizenship question. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement: 

June 18, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) and Andy Levin (MI-09) introduced H.R. 3299, the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality (PRIDE) Act of 2019. The PRIDE Act, which is scheduled to be marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, June 20 at 9:30 AM, includes language from H.R. 1244, the Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, that would remove gendered language like “husband” and “wife” from the tax code to accommodate same sex couples. Instead, tax filings will use “spouses” and “married couple.”

June 14, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Representative Judy Chu (CA-27) led her Ways and Means Democratic colleagues in introducing the Refund Equality Act. For years, same-sex couples in states that recognized legal marriage were wrongfully denied tax refunds they earned because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) did not allow them to file federal taxes jointly. That law was overturned in 2013 by the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v.

May 17, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC — The House of Representatives today voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which updates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, public education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Vice-Chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, issued the following statement: