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January 26, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
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Featured Program

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Should Felons Have the Right to Vote?
Last Featured: 10/23/2006

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Currently, 4.7 million Americans are unable to vote due to state policies that bar convicted felons from the polls. In some states the ban is permanent despite the fact that the defendant may have served his or her time and been released from probation and parole. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit from Florida challenging as unconstitutional felon disenfranchisement laws, but activists continue to push for reforms that will enable convicted felons to participate in the political process. Tune in to this edition of Justice Talking as we ask whether those who commit serious crimes should have the right to vote.

Interview with a Felon
Host Margot Adler speaks with Andres Idarraga, a 28-year-old ex-convict who first began thinking about his voting rights while educating himself in prison. He is currently a junior at Brown University in Rhode Island. Under current Rhode Island law, he will not be able to vote until 2037.

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Interview with a Criminologist
Host Margot Adler discusses crime and criminal voting with author and criminologist Chris Uggen.

Christopher Uggen is Distinguished McKnight Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author with Jeff Manza of Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy.

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Debate on the Issue
Law professor Spencer Overton debates former American Enterprise Institute expert John Lott on whether or not convicted felons should have the right to vote.

Spencer Overton is a law professor at George Washington University. He specializes in voting rights, and authored the book Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression. Overton served as a commissioner on the Jimmy Carter-James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, and is also a member of the boards of Common Cause, Demos, the Center for Responsive Politics, and the People's Community Baptist Church.

John R. Lott is the dean’s visiting professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was formerly with the American Enterprise Institute, where he specialized in criminal justice. Lott is the author of "The Bias Against Guns," More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, and "Are Predatory Commitments Credible: Who Should the Courts Believe?" He is currently completing another book on the importance of reputations in deterring criminals.

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Interview with a Congress Member
Host Margot Adler speaks with Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott about his state's voting laws.

Congressman Robert C. Scott began his seventh term as a member of Congress on January 4, 2005. Rep. Scott serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where he is the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and a member of the Constitution subcommittee.

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Report from New York State
Reporter Susan Phillips tells the story of a convicted felon in New York State who has filed suit from his prison cell seeking to grant all prisoners in the state the right to vote.

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Interview with a Voting Rights Advocate
Host Margot Adler speaks with Maggie Williams, founder and project director of the Voter Enfranchisement Project.

Maggie Williams is the founder and project director of the Bronx Defenders' Voter Enfranchisement Project, which is piloting a nonpartisan role for holistic public defender offices to play in the civic engagement of their clients and communities.

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Interview with a Victim Advocate
Host Margot Adler talks to Miriam Shehane, founder of a victim's rights group known as VOCAL, Victims of Crime and Leniency. She started the organization in Montgomery, Alabama after her daughter was murdered.

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
Voting Rights Act
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution
Richardson v. Ramirez
Hunter v. Underwood
O’Brien v. Skinner
The Sentencing Project
The Right to Vote
The Constitution Center
The Commission On Federal Election Reform
American Center for Voting Rights
Brennan Center for Justice
Election Law Blog
Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to The White House
by Sasha Abramsky
Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy
by John Fund
The Disenfranchisement of Ex-Felons
by Elizabeth Hull
The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
by Alexander Keyssar
Election Reform
Political Speech in the Race for President
Presidential Primaries