Constitutional Rights & Personal Freedoms

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” -- Declaration of Independence, 1776

The government of the United States was created to protect the God-given rights of the people, from our First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom, to our Second Amendment right to bear arms, to our rights to hold private property and be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.

Our rights come from God, not the government.  We must guard these God-given freedoms against infringement, whether that infringement is at the hands of other individuals or the government.


  • Congressman Goodlatte was proud to help usher the USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048) through Congress to protect our civil liberties and end, once and for all, the National Security Agency’s unlawful bulk data collection program that has intruded upon our rights as Americans. It was signed into law on June 2, 2015. The USA Freedom Act proves once again that we can protect both Americans’ civil liberties and our national security without compromising either one. This new law ends bulk collection, enhances civil liberties protections, increases transparency for both American businesses and the government, and provides national security officials targeted tools to keep America safe.
  • In recent years, there have been increasing calls for Congress to reform the criminal justice system. The House Judiciary Committee, which Congressman Goodlatte chairs, is undertaking an initiative to address a variety of criminal justice issues, including over-criminalization, sentencing reform, prison and reentry reform, protecting citizens through improved criminal procedures and policing strategies, and civil asset forfeiture reform. The Committee’s initiative will pursue responsible, common sense reforms to make sure our federal laws and regulations punish wrongdoers, protect individual freedom, work as efficiently and fairly as possible, do not duplicate state efforts, and do not waste taxpayer dollars.
  • Private ownership of property is vital to our freedom and our prosperity and is one of the most fundamental principles embedded in the Constitution. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on the H.R. 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act on March 30, 2017.  
  • Congressman Goodlatte is a cosponsor of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, H.R. 1881. This bill states that any state that receives federal funding cannot discriminate against a child welfare provider on the basis that the provider declines to provide a service that conflicts with its sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.
  • Cosponsor of the DUE PROCESS Act (H.R. 1795), a bipartisan bill which raises the standard of proof law enforcement must show before depriving an individual of his or her property, increases accountability and oversight of seizures and forfeitures, and strengthens protections for Americans whose property has been seized by law enforcement agencies.

  • Cosponsored and voted in support of H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Actwhich allows people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit, or individuals who are citizens of states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the individual follows the laws of that state.
  • Member of the House Values Action Team, which is dedicated to advancing policies rooted in faith, family, and human dignity.
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