2023 Man of the Year: Edward Blum

Edward Blum (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
December 31, 2023

It's not clear that the Civil Rights Movement could have succeeded without the Jews.

Henry Moscowitz helped W.E.B. Du Bois found the NAACP. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel joined Martin Luther King Jr. in King's march on Selma. Jewish donors supplied the capital for numerous civil rights organizations and black colleges, and in 1964, Jews made up half of the participants in the Freedom Summer project, a voter registration drive aimed at black Mississippians.

So it's only fitting that the civil rights hero of our own time is himself a Jew—born to Yiddish-speaking cobblers, no less.

Since the 1990s, Edward Blum has worked tirelessly to dismantle a sordid, state-backed regime of racial discrimination that has structured and subverted nearly every institution in the United States. His first victory, in 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, chipped away at the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a patently unconstitutional law that gerrymanders electoral districts based on race and assumes all minorities vote the same way.

But the jewel in his crown came in this year's Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, in which the Supreme Court outlawed race-based college admissions. The landmark ruling rebuked the actual systemic racism of our time.

All that would be more than enough—dayenu!—to cement Blum's place in the pantheon of civil rights heroes. But the Jewish egalitarian had more legal mitzvot up his sleeve. With a series of lawsuits against prominent law firms, Blum helped end the race-based fellowships and scholarships that have become the norm throughout Big Law.

Beyond everything, he rounded out the year spending three weeks volunteering in southern Israel, and we can report—he's a damn good shot.

For capitalizing on Jewish litigiousness and protecting Americans' constitutional rights, congratulations, Ed: Among your many accolades, you can now add Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year.