Tom Geoghegan

Candidate for Congress in Illinois special election to replace Rahm Emanuel

Thomas H. Geoghegan is a candidate for Congress in the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel in Illinois' 5th congressional district. A Chicago labor lawyer and author, Tom is a graduate of Harvard Law School (1975) and Harvard College (1971).

As a lawyer he has successfully brought class actions to recover lost pension benefits and health insurance arising from plant closings. Both in federal court and in arbitrations, he has represented many different local unions, including nurses, truck drivers, steelworkers and railroad workers.

He has worked for rank and file groups like the Teamsters for a Democratic Union to require greater rank and file democracy. He has often represented women and older workers in suits for sex and age discrimination. He was one of the original members of the National Employment Lawyers Association.

In addition to his work in the pension, labor and civil rights area, he has done other public interest legal work. Recently, he helped conclude a case to require a charitable hospital to provide free or reduced care for the uninsured. He has other litigation to require hospitals to provide charity care. He has also brought suits to open up the political process – for example, in a suit several years ago seeking early election voting or broader absentee balloting. He is currently involved in a case to require the State of Illinois to enforce laws against payday lenders.

He is author of /Which Side Are You On? Trying To Be For Labor When It's Flat On Its Back/ (1991, Farrar Straus and Giroux). In 1991, it was nominated as one of the five best non-fiction works by the National Book Critics Circle. /Which Side Are You On?/ was republished in 2004 by the New Press in an updated edition describing the current state of the labor movement in America. His other books include /The Secret Lives of Citizens: Pursuing the Promise of American Life/ (1999, Pantheon) and /In America's Court: How A Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled Into A Criminal Trial/ (2002, New Press). He has contributed to /The Nation, In These Times, The New Republic, The Financial Times,/ the /New York Times/ op-ed page, and other publications on such subjects as labor, the economy, and law. He has appeared on CNN, CBS Sunday Morning News, and the Lehrer News Hour. He was a Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin in Spring 2004. He has been a columnist for /The American Prospect/. His most recent book is /See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation/ (2007, New Press), which will appear in paperback in January 2009.