The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Lewis Powell - friend of affirmative action and father of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

I had most notably come across Powell as the nigger in the woodpile, as it were, in the Bakke case - his opinion on the legitimacy of diversity as a legitimate ground for the operation of affirmative action in education was, as I recall, the inspiration for the abortion that was the contribution of Injustice O'Connor to the Michigan University cases of Grutter and Gratz.

Listening to a guy called Rob Stein on Al Franken's show, I hear that the idea for the VRWC came from this self-same Powell.

Not much digging - more like gentle hoeing - produces the Powell Manifesto, aka the Powell Memorandum, or Powell Memo: dated August 23, 1971, sent to National Chamber of Commerce Chairman Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., and entitled

An accompanying piece tells the tale. Grounds for Nixon to think he was appointing a reliable guy to the Supreme Court.

I'm now mildly interested in Powell - he seems to have been not merely supplying a brief at the demand of others but acting as principal to promote the views he expresses. Was there any connection between the memo and his appointment to the bench?

However, since I am clearly the last to know about the Memo...


The Franken blog notes Matt Bai's piece Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy in the New York Times Magazine that I mentioned on July 25.

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