Voting rights have always been sharply contested in this country. This talk will place current struggles over the expansion and suppression of the right to vote in a historical context, tracing battles over voting from the ratification of the Constitution through the elimination of property qualifications, the enfranchisement of Black men during Reconstruction and the advent of Black officeholding, Black disfranchisement in the Jim Crow South, the achievement, and limits, of women’s suffrage, the rise and fall of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and current laws making it harder to cast a ballot.
Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, is one of this country’s most prominent historians. He is the author or editor of over twenty books, including Reconstruction, 1863-1877: America’s Unfinished Revolution (winner of the Bancroft Prize and Los Angeles Times book prize), The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (recipient of the Bancroft Prize and Pulitzer Prize for History) and, most recently, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. As co-curator of two award-winning historical exhibitions, and through frequent appearances in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television discussion programs, he has also endeavored to bring historical knowledge to a broad public outside the university.
Eric Foner, “Why Reconstruction Matters,” The New York Times (March 29, 2015)
Eric Foner, “The Lost Promise of Reconstruction,” The New York Times (September 8, 2019)
Eric Foner, “Learning from the Failure of Reconstruction,” Interview by Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker online (January 13, 2021)
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Recorded on May 16, 2021
The biggest challenge facing American democracy is the rise of political extremism since compromise enables our government to function effectively and is essential to enact most major legislation. This webinar explores whether political reforms involving such issues as the presidential nomination process, party primaries, gerrymandering, and campaign-finance can help minimize the role of extremist forces in our politics or whether certain “good government” measures might actually make the problem even worse.
Richard H. Pildes is the Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy. His numerous articles and acclaimed casebook, The Law of Democracy, have helped to create an entirely new field of study in law schools. A former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, Pildes has successfully argued voting-rights and election-law cases before the United States Supreme Court and has just been appointed to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. He writes frequently for The New York Times and The Washington Post and also served as CNN’s voting expert for the 2020 election. Pildes received a B.A. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Richard T. Pildes, “Two Myths about the Unruly American Primary System,” The Washington Post (May 25, 2016)
Richard T. Pildes, “Small dollars, big changes,” The Washington Post (February 6, 2020)
Richard T. Pildes, “How to Keep Extremists Out of Power,” Op-Ed, The New York Times (Feb. 25, 2021)
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Video coming soon!
On the campaign trail, Democrats promised to break from the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Already, the Biden-Harris administration has taken several steps in that direction, but the path ahead is filled with political obstacles and legal challenges. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández will discuss options available to the new administration and challenges it is likely to face—from activists on the left and Republicans on the right.
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a professor of law at the University of Denver and a practicing immigration lawyer. He is a pioneering scholar in the new field of “crimmigration,” which focuses on the intersection of criminal law and the immigration system. His recent book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants, is “a ‘must-read’ for any American interested in the tragic humanitarian impacts of the mass detention of immigrants.” He is also the author of Crimmigration Law and the publisher, since 2009, of crimmigration.com. His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, Salon, and La Opinión. He regularly appears in news stories about immigration matters, including on MSNBC, NPR, and Univision. García Hernández is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, “Biden’s Migration Policy Options,” Oxford Faculty of Law Border Criminologies (January 11, 2021)
Maria Sacchetti, “Biden Sees Obama’s Mass Deportations as a ‘Big Mistake,’” The Washington Post (December 2, 2020)
Noah Lanard, “Biden Pledged to Close For-Profit ICE Detention Centers. Will He Follow Through?” Mother Jones (January 27, 2021)
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Recorded on February 24, 2021