The country’s most dangerous legal mastermind returns to the Supreme Court this week. Ed Blum is not a lawyer. Instead, he recruits plaintiffs, hires counsel, and helps to finance litigation designed to move the law sharply to the right on issues of race and voting. Two years ago, Blum helped to bring two cases to the Supreme Court, Shelby County v. Holder, which sought to gut the Voting Rights Act, and Fisher v. University of Texas, which was designed to strike down affirmative action in college admissions. Now, with two cases from Texas, including a second trip to the Supreme Court for the Fisher case, he is hoping to rewrite the Fourteenth Amendment’s broad guarantee of equality, seeking to sharply limit affirmative action on college campuses and deny unnaturalized immigrants, children, and others equal representation in state legislatures. Blum’s campaign seeks to turn the Fourteenth Amendment into an obstacle to efforts to ensure real equality, denying the government the power to redress our nation’s long history of racial discrimination.
On Tuesday, the Court will hear Evenwel v. Abbott, Blum’s effort to change the rules for state legislative redistricting. Our Constitution promises equal representation for all persons, and across the nation, states draw districts that contain a substantially equal number of persons, ensuring that all persons are represented. That’s what Texas did in 2013 when it enacted its current redistricting plan. In Evenwel, Blum’s team insists that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to draw districts on the basis of the state’s voter population, not its total population. In other words, only a subset of the population is entitled to representation in state legislatures.
Blum’s argument is that unnaturalized immigrants, children, and other who lack access to the ballot should not be counted for purposes of legislative representation, which would unquestionably result in a major shift in political power away from urban population centers toward the whiter, more rural areas of the state. No court in history has ever accepted Blum’s radical claim—which would wreak havoc with the redistricting process and require a new kind of U.S. census—but Blum hopes to make history in the Evenwel case.