Michael Waldman

President, Brennan Center

Michael Waldman is President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan law and policy institute that focuses on improving the systems of democracy and justice. Waldman is a constitutional lawyer and writer, and is an expert on the presidency and American democracy. The Brennan Center is a leading national voice on voting rights, money in politics, criminal justice reform and constitutional law. Waldman has led the Center since 2005.

Waldman was Director of Speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995-99, serving as Assistant to the President. He was responsible for writing or editing nearly 2,000 speeches, including four State of the Union and two Inaugural Addresses. He was Special Assistant to the President for Policy Coordination from 1993-95.

He is the author of The Fight to Vote (Simon & Schuster, 2016), a history of the struggle to win voting rights for all citizens. The Washington Post wrote, "Waldman’s important and engaging account demonstrates that over the long term, the power of the democratic ideal prevails — as long as the people so demand.”  The Wall Street Journal called it “an engaging, concise history of American voting practices,” and the Miami Herald described it as "an important history in an election year." The Fight to Vote was a Washington Post notable nonfiction book for 2016 and a History Book Club Main Selection.    

He is also the author of The Second Amendment: A Biography (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Publishers Weekly called it “the best narrative of its subject.” In The New York Times, Joseph Nocera called it “rigorous, scholarly, but accessible.” The Los Angeles Times wrote, “[Waldman’s] calm tone and habit of taking the long view offers a refreshing tonic in this most loaded of debates.” In a Cardozo Law Review symposium devoted to the book, a historian wrote, “The Second Amendment is, without doubt, among the best efforts at melding constitutional history and constitutional law on any topic – at least since the modern revival of originalism two generations ago.”

Previous books include My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America’s Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama (2003, 2010); A Return to Common Sense (2007); POTUS Speaks (2000); and Who Robbed America? A Citizens' Guide to the S&L Scandal (1990).

He appears frequently on television and radio on policy, the presidency and the law, including Good Morning America; the Colbert ReportMorning JoePBS NewshourCBS Evening NewsMeet the Press Daily; All In with Chris Hayesthe O'Reilly Factor; Nightline60 MinutesTavis SmileyHardball with Chris MatthewsThe Rachel Maddow Show; NPR’s Morning EditionAll Things ConsideredFresh Air; and Diane Rehm. He writes for publications including The New York Times, Politico, The Washington Post, Daily Beast, Slate, Democracy, Reuters.com and Bloomberg.com.  

He is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Columbia College.

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