Law school scholar gives insight into national case

The New York Times on Sunday profiled a Maine businessman who fights racial preferences in courts across the nation and wins.  But a Charleston School of Law scholar-in-residence questioned the non-lawyer advocate motivation.

According to the story, “Now, in his most high-profile cause of the moment, [Edward Blum] has asserted that Harvard University’s affirmative action policies amount to an illegal quota system that denies high-achieving Asian-American students admission in numbers commensurate with their qualifications.”

The Charleston School of Law’s scholar in residence is quoted in the story wondering about whether Blum was picking the right fight:

“Armand Derfner, a civil rights lawyer and constitutional law scholar in residence at the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina, said that admission to the Ivy League was arbitrary for reasons that had little to do with race.

“Mr. Derfner said he had sensed discrimination against him as a Jew when he applied for jobs at Wall Street firms or socially when he was in college, and could sympathize with the arguments that Asians should not be held back. But he said he doubted that was what was motivating Mr. Blum. ‘The lesson he’s spreading is that the problem in our society is that blacks have it too good and whites are getting screwed, and that’s a heck of a lesson in this society,’ he said.”

While Blum’s suit has forced Harvard to turn over demographic data, the school denies using quotas, the story said.