Last week, the Roberts Court added to its reputation as the most activist Supreme Court in American history by upholding a Michigan ballot initiative that bans Affirmative Action in higher education. This weekend, Fox News Sunday trotted out Jennifer Gratz, CEO and Founder of the XIV Foundation, to tell their audience that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was guilty of ‘unbecoming behavior’ for daring to dissent from the decision. Things got heated when civil rights attorney Shanta Driver called the decision “racist:”
Gratz was shocked that someone would describe an Affirmative Action ban as “racist.”
“I think it is unbelievable that someone would sit here and say prohibiting racial discrimination is a racist decision,” she insisted. “I think that tells us where the level of discourse is today.”
“Good people can disagree, but we can’t have name calling and baiting like this,” the anti-Affirmative Action crusader added.
As we reported a month ago, Gratz has made an entire career out of her service as a test plaintiff against the University of Michigan’s Affirmative Action policies. The XIV Foundation is named for the Fourteenth Amendment, but it exists to “tell stories” about people supposedly harmed by Affirmative Action programs and works to end minority civil rights protections that are completely unrelated to hiring. Ms. Gratz offers a twisted interpretation of the Amendment’s “equal protection” clause to justify all of this. For example, Ms. Gratz cheered when the Supremes gutted Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder last year, opening the door to a flood of right wing legislation designed to diminish minority voting, because minority voting protections are so unfair to white people.
But Jennifer Gratz’s career is hardly a shining example of meritocracy. She spent nearly eight years working for the American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) and the American Civil Rights Coalition (ACRC), a pair of Sacramento, California-based nonprofit organizations headed by Affirmative Action opponent Ward Connerly, but quit her job to blow the whistle on what she saw as self-dealing irregularities in the way he ran his organizations. Gratz moved on to become Executive Director at Think Freely Media, but we have found no evidence that she actually did anything to earn a salary there.
The website she supposedly administered, WordsMatter2012.org, was in fact designed and built by someone else under contract to Virion Strategies, the mysterious for-profit company which kept the bulk of TFM’s dark money hoard. We have found no other traces of Gratz’s handiwork for the TM — no press, media, or interviews. As far as we can tell, Gratz received an impressive title and a salary in exchange for doing absolutely nothing.
In other words, Jennifer Gratz is a proud recipient of wingnut welfare. For more than a decade, she has depended on the kindness of right wing organizations opposed to Affirmative Action, which shower her with cushy positions and sweet deals that are completely detached from any discernible ‘free market principles.’ The message of Gratz’s career is that everyone else must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps while she enjoys the privileges of her whiteness and rightness.