An Advocate for Your Rights

Party Affiliation: 
Democratic Party

Political Ideology:

Fighting For:

Recent Position(s):
Constitutional Lawyer Director of Grassroots Advocacy at EFF Executive Director of Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Running For: 
Who Elects Me? 
Election Day: 
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2020 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Our shared struggle pits "We the People" of the United States against a corrupt corporate establishment that dominates not only Republicans, but also Democrats—like the one who has represented San Francisco for over 30 years. When Nancy Pelosi first entered Congress, the Internet had not even been invented yet. San Francisco needs a new voice.

Our city needs a representative in Washington who will work to curtail military spending, fight to save social services, and defend the rights of all Americans. And our country needs public servants who will forcefully fight corruption in whatever form it emerges, from fraudulent weapons contracts to the prison-industrial-slavery complex.

You deserve a representative in Washington who embodies our city's values unapologetically, someone for whom resistance is more than just a hashtag. We can do better together."

Shahid Buttar

Shahid Buttar is a constitutional lawyer, Muslim immigrant, Stanford Grad, non-profit leader, and grassroots community organizer. He has been working on the ground, with activists for decades. He has fought for marriage equality, corporate accountability, environmental justice, reforming our criminal justice system, data privacy, and so much more. 

As a litigator in the nation's capital, Shahid organized litigation seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of New York in 2004, and also represented the campaign finance reform community in an ultimately successful appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Until 2008, he directed the media and communications operations of the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, as well as the ACS ResearchLink program. From 2008-2009, he directed a national program addressing racial & religious profiling based in San Francisco. 

He leads the Bill of Rights Defense Committee as Executive Director. He also serves as co-Director of the Rule of Law Institute, a U.S.-based organization supporting international efforts to defend or restore the rule of law. 

Shahid also served as a spokesperson for grassroots resistance at the 2005 Counter-Inaugural and the 2004 Republican National Convention – where Democracy Now! named one of his public addresses among "The Best of 2004." In 2018, Shahid ran for Congress, seeking to represent California's 12th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He received over 17,000 votes in the primary election.  

Shahid graduated in 2003 from Stanford Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, as well as Professor Lawrence Lessig's 2002-03 Teaching Assistant for Constitutional Law. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, where he grew immersed in the movement to stop the war in Iraq, Shahid worked for a decade in Washington, D.C. He first worked in private practice for a California-based law firm, with public interest litigation projects advancing campaign finance reform and marriage equality for same-sex couples (as early as 2004, when LGBT rights remained politically marginal). From 2005 to 2008, he helped build a national progressive legal network and managed the communications team at the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, before founding the program to combat racial & religious profiling at Muslim Advocates in 2008.

Healthcare is a Human Right

In sharp contrast to our incumbent’s defense of corporate healthcare, Shahid will support the historic “Medicare for All” proposal pioneered by Senator Bernie Sanders to provide healthcare to all Americans and its companion bill in the House, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). 

Single-payer healthcare would be vastly more efficient and less expensive than our inadequate corporate healthcare system by leveraging economies of scale.
Medicare for all would make American businesses more competitive by eliminating the burden of paying for employees' corporate health insurance.
Single-payer healthcare would also prevent a leading cause of homelessness.

Privacy is a Fundamental Right

Beyond the right merely to be invisible, it enables freedom of expression, on which democracy relies. Despite our legal commitment to the First Amendment, U.S. history is unfortunately replete with government surveillance suppressing dissent. 

Shahid will sponsor legislation to require law enforcement and intelligence agencies (such as NSA, FBI, and DEA) to secure a judicial warrant before searching or collecting information from or about Americans.

He will also support longstanding proposals, opposed by the incumbent, to prohibit agencies from undermining encryption standards or intercepting devices.

Government Transparency

Democracy requires robust limits on executive power, as well as a commitment to government transparency, and opportunities for public participation in policymaking. Unfortunately, each of these areas are mired in longstanding crisis, driven by a bipartisan political establishment in Washington.

Shahid will propose long overdue reforms to the national security classification system to limit secrecy and prevent security classification (such as “confidential” or “top secret” designations) from being used to evade accountability for misuse or human rights violations.

In Congress, he will continue to advocate for the public unredacted release of the CIA torture report whose continuing censorship prompted even Sen. Dianne Feinstein to decry a constitutional crisis. 
Unlike the incumbent, Shahid will take his oversight responsibilities seriously. Even without a seat in Congress, he has posed uncomfortable questions to executive officials that no legislator ever has, and even risked arrest for doing so.


Liberty includes the right to autonomy, as long as one's actions don’t harm others.

Notwithstanding the legalization of cannabis here in California at the state level, prohibition continues at the federal level, fueling a failed and racist war on drugs and a prison-industrial-slavery complex.

Having long embraced intersectional feminism, Shahid will be a stalwart defender of both reproductive freedom andjustice. All Americans should enjoy the chance to decide if, when, how, and with whom they grow their families.

Reducing Military Spending

Corporate fraud, waste, and abuse pervade military procurement and scream out for stronger congressional oversight, as well as reducing military spending.

Congress must insist on a long overdue audit of the Department of Defense, closing some U.S. military bases in foreign countries, and ending any further funding for the failed & fraudulent $1 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. 
Closing overseas bases and ending fraudulent corporate contracts would drive immense reductions in carbon emissions. The Pentagon has already recognized that climate change is among our greatest threats t national security.

In the wake of the GOP tax scam passed by Congress, cuts to military spending will be increasingly necessary to secure—and expand—vital social services including student debt relief, early childhood education, medical and psychological services for veterans, and funding for affordable housing to address the urban housing crisis.

Corporate Corruption

In Congress, Shahid will vigilantly work to promote checks and balances challenging corporate corruption in Washington.

Corporations unfortunately dominate our public policy, and We the People pay the price for economic externalities they impose on us. From depleting environmental resources to accelerating climate change and habitat destruction, corporate resource extraction increasingly threatens the future of life on Earth. Shahid favors aggressive action to address the climate crisis, and supports H.R. 3314, the "100 by '50 Act" introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House and Senators Merkley (D-OR), Markey (D-MA), Sanders (D-VT), and Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate to transition our economy to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050.
To protect the integrity of our political process from threats including voter suppression, disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and a campaign finance regime that undermines the influence of working class voters,  Shahid proposes to expand the protections of antitrust law to give federal judges a broad statutory authority to protect competition and fairness in political markets.

Economic Opportunity

Workers and their families—especially new Americans driven either by violence or economic opportunity to migrate—stand at the tip of the spear.

Shahid will champion immigration reform aligned with the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, and resist “enforcement-first” proposals that have led to a humanitarian crisis. Beyond protecting dreamers (students left vulnerable after Trump rescinded DACA), he will also fight for a pathway to citizenship for their families.
Shahid will continue Rep. Pelosi’s co-sponsorship of H.R. 15, the Raise the Wage Act introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA). He will also champion the Employee Free Choice Act to give employees the opportunity to form unions. As explained by the Center for American Progress, “Unfairly preventing workers from joining together in unions it is not only a violation of their basic human rights, it is also bad for the economy and democracy.”​


The primary election is on March 3, 2020. To vote for Shahid, you’ll need to be registered as either a Democrat or No Party Preference (NPP) voter.

Description Date
Primary Election Date Tues, March 3, 2020
7:00 am to 8:00 pm
Last Day to Register to Vote Mon, February 17, 2020

Register to Vote: https://registertovote.ca.gov/

Check Your Voting Status: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/cavoter/

For more details contact your county's voter registrar office: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices/

For more info visit: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/presidential-primary-election-march-3-2020/

Media Get Involved

Please contact us on any one of our social media pages or at press@shahidforchange.us

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