On this episode, we revisit Edward Blum, a self-described “legal entrepreneur” and former stockbroker who has become something of a Supreme Court matchmaker: he takes an issue, finds the perfect plaintiff, matches them with lawyers, and helps the case work its way to the highest court in the land. His target: laws that differentiate between people based on race — including ones that empower minorities. More Perfect profiled Edward Blum in season one of the show. We catch up with him to hear about his latest effort to end affirmative action at Harvard.
The key voices:
- Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation
- Sheila Jackson Lee, Congresswoman for the 18th district of Texas
The key cases:
- 1977: Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
- 2003: Grutter v. Bollinger
- 2013: Shelby County v. Holder
- 2013: Fisher v. University of Texas (1)
- 2016: Fisher v. University of Texas (2)
The key links:
- More Perfect Season 1: The Imperfect Plaintiffs
- Blum's websites seeking plaintiffs for cases he is building against Harvard University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin
- Students for Fair Admissions' complaint; and Harvard's response.
“To become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives. Many colleges across America – including Harvard College – receive applications from far more highly qualified individuals each year than they can possibly admit. When choosing among academically qualified applicants, colleges must continue to have the freedom and flexibility to consider each person’s unique backgrounds and life experiences, consistent with the legal standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court, in order to provide the rigorous, enriching, and diverse campus environments that expand the horizons of all students. In doing so, American higher education institutions can continue to give every undergraduate exposure to peers with a deep and wide variety of academic interests, viewpoints, and talents in order to better challenge their own assumptions and develop the skills they need to succeed, and to lead, in an ever more diverse workforce and an increasingly interconnected world.”
- Robert Iuliano, senior vice president and general counsel of Harvard University
Special thanks to Guy Charles, Katherine Wells, and Matt Frassica.
Leadership support for More Perfect is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.
Supreme Court archival audio comes from Oyez®, a free law project in collaboration with the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.