Ari Melber is Chief Legal Correspondent for MSNBC, covering the Justice Department, Supreme Court, FBI and legal issues. He reports across all MSNBC platforms, appearing as an on-air correspondent and host, writing for MSNBC.com, and providing legal analysis on NBC programs such as “The Today Show.”
Melber also serves as a guest host for shows such as “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and “Hardball,” and he anchors and writes an MSNBC series on inequities in the criminal justice system, Presumed Guilty, and a series on legal and policy challenges in counterterror, Rules of Engagement. In his reporting for MSNBC, Melber has interviewed Attorney General Eric Holder, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Judge Richard Posner, Senators Rand Paul, Al Franken, Mike Lee, Cory Booker and a range of policymakers and experts.
A 2014 profile in the Columbia Journalism Review dubbed Melber a “rising star” who “wants to solve problems,” and his reporting and writing has been cited by The New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Guardian, Rolling Stone, National Review and The Economist. Melber writes columns for Reuters and is a former correspondent for The Nation and a former columnist for Politico; his writing has also been published by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Daily News and The New York Daily News, among others.
From 2009 to 2013, Melber practiced law at a major New York firm, specializing in First Amendment, reporter’s privilege and copyright litigation. Melber received a J.D. from Cornell Law School, where he was an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, and he is a member of the New York Bar.
During the 2008 general election, Melber traveled with the Obama Campaign on special assignment for The Washington Independent. He previously served as a legislative aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell and as a national staff member of the 2004 John Kerry Presidential Campaign.
In 2010, Melber authored a 74-page report for techPresident, a nonpartisan website covering political technology, analyzing the first year of Organizing for America, the 13-million person network that grew out of the 2008 presidential campaign. Northwestern political scientist Daniel Galvin called the report “the most comprehensive and insightful account of Obama’s ‘Organizing for America’ to date,” and the report’s findings have been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Journal, Rolling Stone and the BBC.
Melber has been a featured speaker or interviewer in forums at Oxford, Yale, Harvard Law School, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Columbia University Political Union, NYU, Georgetown University, USC, The Center for American Progress, The TimeWarner Summit, Alpha Phi Alpha, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and several state bar associations, among others.
Melber has contributed chapters or essays to the books “America Now,” (St. Martins, 2009), “At Issue: Affirmative Action,” (Cengage, 2009), and “MoveOn’s 50 Ways to Love Your Country,” (Inner Ocean Publishing, 2004). His investigative reporting has been cited in over twenty nonfiction books, including “Power and Constraint: The Accountable President After 9/11,” “Shelby County v. Holder: a New Perspective on Voting Rights,” “Managing Alone: Obama, Organizing for Action and Policy Advocacy in the Digital Era,” “Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices,” “Rethinking Arab Democratization,” and in academic journals including, among others, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Middle East Journal, International Affairs, American Behavioral Scientist, Catholic University Law Review, the Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology Law and Boston University Law Review.