An ugly side of the judicial process

Just learned about Edward Blum thanks to a Chris Hayes segment on the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action cases pending the SCOTUS. This guy has actually brought four different cases before the US Supreme Court, including two this term (I’m talking mainly about affirmative action in Fisher v Texas, the other being the VRA in Shelby County v Holder). That in itself is astonishing, but they are all on the subject of “color blindness”. Turns out also that Ed Blum ran for Congress back in the early 90s, lost badly, and was so traumatized by the experience that he’s been on a juristic mission to end “all forms of discrimination” (meaning of course “discrimination against whites”) ever since.

I have followed the Fisher case superficially since last year, but while I always assumed she was funded by some white supremacist person and/or organization, I didn’t actually know any details until today. It turns out that Abigail Fisher was actually recruited by this Blum guy via her conservative father in a deliberate attempt to overturn affirmative action in public education. As is quite obvious from that case in itself, it was about something much greater than just Ms. Fisher getting rejected from UT, but she and her story is a convenient vehicle to push through the courts and public, because it reasonates with a certain school of thought and crowd. (The “racism ended in 1965” or “affirmative action is racism against whites” crowds etc.)

Of course, the case is entirely funded by NOT Abigail Fisher or her family, but Ed Blum and Donors Trust and other conservative groups. A few days ago actually, I was thinking of legal cases in human terms, or rather how they may turn out in practical terms. I was reading about psychiatric injury cases where the injury manifested much later than the incident that allegedly provoked the injury, and then the cases made their way through the courts, which took years, sometimes the incident and the final ruling would be a decade or more apart in time. I then thought about this Fisher case, because the girl, Ms Fisher, has already graduated from a different university, she has started work and all that. It’s not about her, which is not abnormal once a case reaches this level, but what strikes me in this case is that it has never been about her, and there is something awfully cynical about that, even though the actions of this man probably comes from a highly idealistic point of view.

I almost wish I hadn’t learned these details now. I am profoundly depressed about how the politics – especially the funding – works to influence this policy in a way that is so reactionary towards the de facto situation of race conditions on the ground, and ultimately how this may (and looks to) be decided by the Supreme Court.


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