Mr. Blum is not a lawyer. But he is a one-man legal factory with a growing record of finding plaintiffs who match his causes, winning big victories and trying above all to erase racial preferences from American life. Mr. Blum, 65, has orchestrated more than two dozen lawsuits challenging affirmative action practices and voting rights laws across the country. He is behind two of the biggest such cases to reach the Supreme Court: one attacking consideration of race in admissions at the University of Texas, which he lost; the other contesting parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, widely considered one of this country’s most important pieces of civil rights legislation, which he won.
How a financial adviser without a law degree has managed to bring so many cases that make, as he calls it, “big law,” is a testament to his methods. He is a matchmaker bringing together two forces: students and others who believe they are being mistreated in the name of racial justice, and conservative donors who finance his work and that of the high-powered, establishment Republican lawyers who take the cases to court.
Mr. Blum (pronounced Bloom) ran for Congress in Houston as a Republican in 1992, and lost.
Mr. Blum works out of a gray-shingle house in South Thomaston, Me., overlooking Penobscot Bay, in a stark landscape famously painted by Andrew Wyeth. He has a consulting business analyzing esoteric municipal bonds for a handful of wealthy families.
The DonorsTrust, which distributes money from conservative and libertarian contributors to various causes, and nonprofits related to DonorsTrust gave almost $2.9 million to support Mr. Blum’s work from 2010 to 2015, said Lawson R. Bader, the trust’s president, citing the most recent publicly available figures.
Most of that money came from the Searle Freedom Trust, according to tax records and Kimberly O. Dennis, the president and chief executive of the trust, which was founded by Daniel C. Searle of the Searle pharmaceutical company.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, another small-government group, gave $100,000 to the DonorsTrust for Mr. Blum’s causes in 2014 and $50,000 in 2012, tax records show.
The prestigious Wiley Rein law firm has been practically his house counsel.