In this article, Type Media Center fellow Ari Berman discusses threats to the Voting Rights Act from a recent decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which was influenced by conservative networks led by Leonard Leo.


  • Restrictions on Private Plaintiffs: Berman notes the 8th Circuit’s ruling which negates the ability for private plaintiff’s to bring lawsuits to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory voting practices against people of color.
  • Leonard Leo’s Influence: The article discusses how Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo impacted the decision through his appointment of conservative judges and advocation for restrictive voting laws.
  • Potential Consequences: Berman raises several possible consequences of the ruling on voting rights, including challenges to the Voting Rights Act as a whole. He also notes a concern expressed by Judge Lavenski Smith–the only Black judge on the 8th Circuit–over voting rights litigation, which the judge anticipates will “slow to a trickle—or, under a hostile administration, to a halt.”
  • Undermining the VRA: The article highlights a broader effort to weaken or eliminate the Voting Rights Act, particularly noting several instances of Trump-appointed judges, with Leo’s support, ruling against voting rights in various court cases.

Type Media Center’s Note

This article by our fellow Ari Berman reflects Type Media Center’s dedication to nurturing independent journalism that not only informs but strives for societal change.