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The Syllabus: What you need to know for the June 16 'MHP'

Before he was a co-host of The Cycle and a guest host of Melissa Harris-Perry, Ari Melber was an attorney.
Credit: Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Credit: Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Before he was a co-host of The Cycle and a guest host of Melissa Harris-Perry, Ari Melber was an attorney. He'll bring his legal acumen to the table when he guest-hosts MHP on Sunday. NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino and University of Connecticut historian Jelani Cobb will be at the table for a discussion about the Supreme Court and two of the cases which the Justices are expected to announce rulings on in the coming days. Voting rights and affirmative action could start looking very different depending on how the current bench interprets the constitutionality of these institutions that have been crucial in the progress of civil rights since the 1950s.

Melber will also depose the GOP on the party’s strategy of support for civil rights. We’ve seen Republicans eloquently reciting the rhetoric of, and paying tribute to, our great civil rights leaders, but action doesn’t always match words.

And how do you defend evil? We’ll examine the moral conundrum of criminal defense on the heels of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainright. Despite the horrific nature of the crime, blatant disregard for human life, and often sadistic admissions of guilt, in 1963 the Supreme Court mandated that all those convicted of a crime be afforded a defense attorney if that person could not afford one themselves. Though touted as a fundamental part of our justice system, upon further examination of the modern state of affairs, this facet of society is actually wrought with failure. Due to lack of funding and attention, the quality of court appointed attorneys has drastically fallen, turning the institution of criminal defense into another ailing arm of our court system.

In honor of the fathers in #nerdland, and all fathers, Melber will be joined by Kathryn Edin and Timothy Nelson to discuss their new book Doing The Best I Can, which explores fatherhood in inner cities.

And of course, we will have a new installment of “Wow…Seriously?”

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on msnbc! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland.