More to the point for followers of electoral politics, Shapiro also won an important appeals court case in 2010, reversing an earlier judgment in favor of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which was trying to impede a nonpartisan group's efforts to fund ballot access for an independent presidential candidate.
Now, Shapiro is back. Last month, she filed a suit against the FEC on behalf of Level the Playing Field (LPF), which produces this newsletter, as well as the two largest parties in the United States after the Republicans and Democrats - the Libertarians and Greens. Here is the suit.
The suit is the latest manifestation of the strength of a popular movement to refresh American democracy by ending the rigged duopoly that dominates - and stagnates - the political system.
Shapiro is demanding that the FEC take action on a previous request by LPF to enforce the law and require the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to stop excluding independents and third parties from the final fall debates.
The debates are validators. If a candidate doesn't make those final debates, he or she can't be elected president. Yet the CPD has blocked any chance that a third person will appear on the stage with the Republican and Democrat - even though, by a margin of two-to-one, Americans want the rules changed to allow a third debater - even if such a candidate can only influence the final outcome, rather than win.
The lawsuit also asks that if the FEC, whose own chair has called the agency "dysfunctional," cannot or will not enforce the law, then the court should permit the plaintiffs to sue the CPD directly.
In the article below, which appeared July 10 in the important legal publication, Law360, Shapiro tells why she sued and why this case is so critical to the health of American democracy.
As we go to press with this newsletter, we've learned that the FEC today is scheduled to take up the original LPF petition.
All we know is, when Alexandra Shapiro takes on a case like this, pay attention.