According to an article in the Chronicle of Education this morning, John Nussbaumer, a dean at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan and a member of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, has issued a report charging that the weight given to the Law School Admissions Test by law schools
[has] created a de facto and racially discriminatory quota system that restricts African-American access to the legal profession.
John Sebert, a consultant to the ABA, responded that “accreditors have reason to be concerned when law schools accept many students with low test scores.”
“It’s sort of a consumer-protection issue,” he said on Monday. “We want to be sure that law schools aren’t admitting a substantial number of students who are unlikely to be successful in their program or in their attempts to pass the bar.”
Admitting quite a few students “who are unlikely to be successful in their program or in their attempts to pass the bar” is presumably O.K. with Mr. Sebert and the ABA, who only become troubled when “a substantial” number of such students are admitted.
This, of course, is not surprising since this is the same ABA and the same Mr. Sebert (whom we last heard from here) who have come under fire lately for a proposal that would require law schools to take steps to ensure “diversity” that may be illegal in some states. (See here, citing three earlier posts.)
Now, here’s an irony, or something, for you. (Maybe it’s not an irony; maybe it’s only hypocrisy.) Anyway, the law schools being criticized by the Nussbaumer report will no doubt reply that the LSAT is but one of many factors they consider in admissions. Others — and not just meritocrats — defend the law schools by noting that their admissions policies, whatever the criteria, should be race-blind. If the test is useful, they say, it should not be dropped or reduced in significance simply because it has a “disparate impact.”
“Bull! “say the “civil rights” critics. “Law schools give it so much weight it amounts to a quota, no matter what they say!”
But when the conversation turns to racially preferential admissions, all of a sudden the “civil rights” forces reverse their position. The law schools still say that race is but one of many factors considered. Critics say, consistently, that admissions should be race-blind. But the “civil rights” forces now assert, vehemently, that placing enough weight on race to guarantee a “critical mass” of minority students, even though their LSAT scores are substantially below the average, is no quota at all, and many go on to add that anyone who says it is is a racist.
And the ABA? It now only allows but would require law schools to admit students (as long as their number is not “substantial,” whatever that is) who they suspect will fail to graduate or pass the bar simply so those students can provide “diversity” to their classmates.