That time Congressman John Lewis was frustrated about being on a government watchlist

Government watchlists have become the next big thing in American politics. Whereas we once had due process to decide guilt and innocence by an impartial arbiter, we now have politicians and unelected bureaucrats deciding this for us. In order to ensure the power of big government remains strong, House Democrats have gathered together to sit in the middle of the floor in the House of Representatives and do absolutely nothing.

This group of constitutional scholars is led by Democratic Congressman John Lewis.

The concept behind due process is fairly basic. We are all innocent of any crime until proven innocent in a court of law, with the burden of proof lying upon the accuser. The accused has a right to face their accuser in court, hear the case against them, and fight it. After both sides are presented, only then is a decision offered.

Government watch lists work differently. They’re maintained by government agents who operate outside of the judicial system and decide guilt based purely on suspicion. People on these lists cannot fly and are monitored closely by the federal government, purely on suspicion.

Which part sounds more in touch with the American legacy and the principles of freedom?


While Congressman Lewis would lead you to believe he heavily favors the latter, he once upon a time not only found himself on a watch list, he was quite inconvenienced by it and upset by the repeated issues. Why? He hadn’t been convicted of a crime and was being treated like a criminal, all because some government bureaucrats saw he had the same name as someone else on a list and that was enough to be treated like a criminal.

In 2004, Congressman Lewis was stopped 35-40 times, according to his congressional office. The repeated inconveniences led the Congressman to contact the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, and executives at various airlines. The most that the Transportation Security Agency could do for him was offer a letter that stated essentially the practice would continue.

Like others who face extra scrutiny and are treated like criminals without due process, Congressman Lewis faced thorough searches of his luggage and was bombarded with questions aboard the plane.

Congressman Lewis was also contacted by another John Lewis who was experiencing the same problem.


Twelve years later, either Congressman Lewis doesn’t remember this or doesn’t care. Regardless, there wasn’t a lesson learned. It was an outrage that he was inconvenienced because his name appeared on a government watch list compiled by government bureaucrats who determine guilt based on suspicion.

It isn’t an outrage when it happens to anyone else however. Congressman John Lewis may have taken a stand for civil rights once upon a time, but now he’s supporting oppressive big government and embodies the worst kind of political hypocrisy.

The Lewis Doctrine states that regular Americans who appear on a watch list should be deprived of their constitutional rights because of two reasons: government bureaucrats said they’re guilty based on suspicion and they’re not important like Congressman John Lewis.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.

1 Comment

  1. the hypocrisy is stunning. ( need to correct this mis-speak in you r article): [“We are all innocent of any crime until proven innocent “]

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