Assaults on the Voting Rights Act

From the November 15, 2012, Washington Spectator:

A Color-Blind Crusader’s Plan to Destroy the Voting Rights Act, by Lou Dubose

University of Texas President William Powers stood before a dozen TV cameras outside the Supreme Court Building, discussing the affirmative-action case that had just been argued before the justices, when a slight man approached from the right and said: “The plaintiff is here. Please, let the plaintiff speak.”

The plaintiff was Abigail Fisher, a 22-year-old graduate of Louisiana State University who had been denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008 and responded with a lawsuit alleging that a less qualified minority applicant had taken her place. On an October morning four years later, she was making history.

The man guiding her toward the cameras was Edward Blum, a former Paine Webber stockbroker from Houston who recruited Fisher as a plaintiff, then raised the money to file, try, and appeal her case. Fisher looked painfully uncomfortable as she stood biting her upper lip. Blum told Fisher’s parents, longtime family friends, to stand behind their daughter; he then moved away from the TV cameras and watched.

Fisher’s appellate attorney, Bert Rein, stood beside her. But Fisher was incapable of speech beyond one scripted sentence. Rein fielded the questions. Then Blum escorted Fisher and her family past TV reporters, who had lifted their cameras off their tripods to follow her as she departed.

The scene illustrated how Blum works — producing and directing the program, getting the players to hit their marks, then watching from the wings.

His campaign to dismantle statues and case law that provide advantages to minority groups began in 1992, when he was a candidate in a U.S. House race he knew he couldn’t win. (A poll he commissioned before the campaign had him losing by a large margin to Congressman Craig Washington.)

After Blum, who is white and ran as a Republican, failed to unseat Washington, a black Democratic congressman in an urban district that was 50 percent black, he filed his first lawsuit. He also funded his own advocacy group, the Campaign for a Color-Blind America Legal Defense Fund. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor in 1996 in a 5-4 decision that made it more difficult for state legislatures to create districts that accommodate minority voters.

In an e-mail response to one of several questions, Blum said he ran against Washington because he was “young and idealistic.” Yet what Blum did was brilliant. A candidate enters a race he knows he can’t win, loses and creates his own cause of action, files suit and prevails in the Supreme Court …

With a win before the Supreme Court, Blum found his calling. He began matching plaintiffs, money, and attorneys in a campaign to end race-based laws.

I read Blum as an angry white man who can’t win elections, not because he doesn’t have the right skin color, but because he doesn’t have the brains and historical wisdom to support and propound policies that the majority of us do support.

What we don’t support is the notion that our rulers should be rich white guys with the offensive patrician attitude that if they condescend to run for office or apply to a university, they should get what they want. I mean, they always did, didn’t they? Once upon a time?

Worse, Blum is an angry white man who is rich enough (and look where he made his money!) to pay for his anti-Constitutional racist vanity project, to demand that the rules be changed to favor people like him when the majority electorate does not. (I mean, what happened to the rich guy vanity project of marrying one or more expensive trophy wives? That project was so much less destructive of our democracy.)

Unfortunately, thanks to other angry rich white men (and one angry rich white man wanna-be), Blum has a Supreme Court majority that offers him comfort and support.

This whole situation with the Supremes is so bizarre, isn’t it? They are making, supporting and/or destroying legislation that represents a small, 19th century-character minority — talk about living in Once Upon A Time! — while the rest of us live (and vote) in the 21st century.



This entry was posted in Law, suits and order and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.