“Jim Lieber has provided a real-time report on effective trial lawyers, working to facilitate the will of the people.” —Vicki Horne, former president of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County

“In a thorough chronicle, Jim Lieber explains the strategies of counsel, and the evidence presented to navigate the League of Women Voters case through the thicket of Pennsylvania politics.... Mr. Lieber has provided a roadmap to social justice litigants for pursuing constitutionally protected claims in a state court, based on the state constitution, and avoiding federal review.” —Donald E. Ziegler, former chief judge, Federal District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

“It takes someone who truly loves democracy and government to turn a court case about voting rights into a courtroom drama, but James Lieber does just that. For anyone who, like me, followed the case eagerly through news reports, this book provides the chance to enjoy each blow, duck and ‘points scored’ by the lawyers and analysts fighting for fair districts in Pennsylvania.”
—Dan B. Frankel, State Democratic Caucus Chairman, state legislative representative for the 23rd district, Allegheny County, PA

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About the Book

Can Pennsylvania point the way to a renewal of democracy in the United States?

We are in the midst of a national emergency caused by all three branches of the federal government being taken over by one political party, the Republicans. The hijacking of Congress began in 2010, when the Republicans, badly beaten at all levels during the Obama landslide of 2008, arrived at a strategy to take back the House of Representatives not just in the next election, but permanently.

In 2010, the GOP won control of most state legislatures, and these legislatures then set about re-drawing congressional districts to favor Republicans by gerrymandering them. The results have been stark. The Republicans now control the House of Representatives, which has become a far-right entity that fawns before President Trump.

In Pennsylvania, gerrymandering gave Republicans thirteen and the Democrats five seats in Congress—even though Democratic Party registration exceeds GOP registration in the state. Politics is a blood sport in Pennsylvania: legislators regularly put each other in jail, and the General Assembly is a famously do-nothing place ruled by right wingnuts.

And yet . . . in 2018, activists in the state engineered a brilliant legal effort to attack the lopsided redistricting, and won after fighting pitched battles all the way up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Based on in-depth interviews with the people involved, this is the story of how a few dedicated voters took up the issue of disenfranchisement and won—and how activists around the country can do the same. The next Congressional redistricting occurs after the 2020 census: progressives need to be ready well before then.

110 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-68219-180-4 • E-book 978-1-68219-181-1

About the Author

james lieber author photo

Photo © Ruth Hart

James B. Lieber is a writer and lawyer who focuses on Constitutional, civil rights and discrimination cases. He has twice appeared successfully before the United States Supreme Court, once on a First Amendment issue and another time on a federal habeas corpus “actual innocence” case which stood for the proposition that a state supreme court should be the final arbiter in matters that arise under a state constitution. That case, Fiore v. White, was a basis for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore that garnered four votes. Lieber’s work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Village Voice, Mother Jones and other publications. He is the author of Killer Care: How Medical Error Became America’s Third Largest Cause of Death, and What Can Be Done About It; Rats in the Grain: The Dirty Tricks and Trials of Archer Daniels Midland; and Friendly Takeover: How an Employee Buyout Saved a Steel Town (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize).

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