The Washington Duo Behind a Texas Affirmative Action Case

Meet Edward Blum, plaintiff in Bush v. Vera, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and force behind the Project for Fair Representation.  Support the efforts of these groups in Fisher v. University of Texas and future projects.

Eighteen years ago, Edward Blum was a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by several Texas voters who sued the state over its redistricting plan.

When the case, Bush v. Vera , landed on the Supreme Court’s docket, Blum knew he needed a law firm with a well-oiled appellate practice to argue on his behalf. That’s when he found Dan Troy, then a partner at Wiley Rein, one of Washington’s largest home-grown law firms.

Troy, now general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, won the case for Blum and his co-plaintiffs, when the high court struck down the congressional districts created by the Texas plan, ruling they were formed through racial gerrymandering.

Those ties led Blum and Wiley Rein to collaborate again, this time on one of the most talked-about issues the Supreme Court has agreed to hear in the fall: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which could eliminate affirmative action in college admissions. Abigail Fisher, a white student, sued the university in 2008 after being denied entry to the freshman class, saying the school’s use of race in admissions discriminated against her. The case revisits the use of affirmative action in higher education, an issue last addressed by the Supreme Court in 2003, when it upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s limited use of race preferences in Grutter v. Bollinger.

Blum is the force behind the Project for Fair Representation, a Washington legal defense foundation that opposes race preferences in education, voting, contracting and employment. Blum, who is not an attorney, is the founder and sole proprietor of the nonprofit, which he created in 2005 after several years of running its predecessor, the Campaign for a Color-Blind America. The two groups have brought several cases challenging redistricting plans in Virginia, New York and South Carolina.

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