GWorks Interviews: Ari Berman

"[Chief Justice Roberts] says, 'History didn’t end in 1965.' But, what he misses is that voter suppression didn’t end in 1965, either—that...this particular part of the Voting Rights Act that he didn’t like, Section 5, it blocked 3000 discriminatory voting changes from 1965 to 2013.”

In this four-part interview, Ari Berman, Senior Contributing Writer at The Nation and author of Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (4 August 2015)), discusses his background; covering voting rights; the history of enacting and challenging the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), culminating in Shelby County v. Holder, the 2013 Supreme Court case striking down VRA’s "coverage formula," the means the law used to identify states subject to voting rights regulation by the federal government; and what voting rights will look like in the 2016 election and beyond.

Viewers may watch the complete interview above, select a particular part from the list in the upper left corner of the video above or scroll to a particular part below.

An interview transcript is forthcoming.

Part One: Always Curious

Mr Berman discusses his background, finding journalism and coming to cover voting rights.

Part Two: 2010

The resurgent legal challenges to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after a signal from the Supreme Court (in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder "NAMUDNO") and Republican electoral victories in 2010.

Part Three: Enactment

The history of enacting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA); the law's "preclearance" requirement; assessing President John F. Kennedy’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s commitment to civil rights legislation; VRA’s immediate success and the responses to it, including an unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge and the election of President Richard M. Nixon.

Part Four: A Car With No Engine

The history of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the re-emergence of the Supreme Court as an ultimately successful means to challenge the law in 2013's Shelby County v. Holder; the figure of Congressman John Lewis; and the future of voting rights.

Editor's Notes

Book cover image above: Ports Bishop. Courtesy of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.