State Court OKs Suit to Study Bar Exam Results

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2011

The public has a right of access to State Bar records that don’t reveal private information, a state appeals court ruled Friday in reinstating a suit by a law professor who wants to study bar exam results to test his thesis that affirmative action hurts minorities.

UCLA Professor Richard Sander’s request for the data drew support from organizations unconnected to his research quest, including The Chronicle and other news media. {snip}

Sander has theorized that preferential admissions policies place some minorities in top law schools where they are unable to compete effectively, decreasing their chances of passing the bar and becoming lawyers. {snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    The SAT and LSAT tests might have some correlation to one’s ability to do well in school? A stunning concept. Only politicians, academics, and race-based advocacy groups would think otherwise.

  • Jake

    Sanders is probably a flaming liberal so his intention and game plan are suspect. However his thesis that affirmative action can hurt minorities is probably correct. It all started in the 1978 Supreme Ct case of Regents v. Bakke. Bakke was not accepted at a Cal. med. school despite his high scores because the school reserved 16 spots for “qualified minorites.”

    The Supreme CT. foundthat absolute quotas were unconstitutional but suggested the need for “diversity in admissions.” (Some would say that’s not much of a difference) This was the start of affirmative action which still seems to violate the Equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. I guess we can only guess at what Sanders will suggest if and when he proves his thesis.

  • Seek

    White “conservatives” of the Town Hall/Human Events/Heritage Foundation variety often oppose affirmative action by casting blacks as victims of the policy. That way, they can oppose the State, yet avoid the charge of “racism.”

    Actually, experience and common sense show that blacks are the beneficiaries. The whole point of affirmative action is to advance blacks at the expense of whites, rendering upward mobility a zero-sum game. Blacks are not going to oppose something that has been a useful stick to beat whitey with for some 40 years.

    If blacks really were victimized by affirmative action, then why don’t we see any blacks demonstrating against it? (It’s bad enough that whites don’t have the stones to demonstrate.) Mainstream conservatives complain about “liberal racism.” Well, the joke’s on them. By accepting the main premise of the Left, these fake conservatives become Leftists without even knowing it. Let them vote for Herman Cain for President — I’m sure the pizza man is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • recidivistic tendencies, 1953 was just right!

    As an anti-raciss community, we join together in a pledge of unity and sign the petition that binds us to each other as we refuse here an now to ever:

    hire a White attorney- we insist on black legal representation

    go to a White doctor- we insist on voodoo healthcare

    work for a White boss- we surrender to transformative diversity leadership

    give money to a White church- we must have a black preacher, black church administrator, black vestry, and most importantly, we overcome our prejudices by insisting on a black treasurer

    live in a White neighborhood- we export our “too White” diversity into non diverse communities of color

    We are anti-raciss, no matter the cost or horror.

  • Anonymous

    Being unable to compete effectively for higher grades would and should in fact decrease the chances of graduating but cannot logically have any effect whatsoever on whether someone can pass the bar exam since the amount of material absorbed should be the same regardless. On the other hand I bet the real problem is affirmative action students are also being given a pass on grades and being graduated when they shouldn’t and that is why they can’t pass the bar.

  • HH

    It could only be in this hopelessly rotten day and age in which we live, that blatant discrimination against Whites(aka Affirmative Action)can be decried for actually harming…Blacks!!!

    Proof postive that life in a modern democracy is a lose-lose affair for the White race!

  • Middle American

    The professor can simply call me. I already know the answer. So does everyone else here.

    Still, without data the hypothesis would be blown off as racist. I’m suspicious, however, that the data will be spun into whatever liberal agenda they want.

    Here’s a simple way to look at whatever the results show. Don’t hire a black lawyer.

  • Anonymous

    Whites (or anyone) offended by ‘Affirmative Action’ (discrimination against whites and East Asians) should not mock or disdain this research. It is an entirely reasonable critique that AA not only is unfair to whites and East Asians who are deprived of their rightful places which they would have on their merits BUT ALSO is detrimental to the supposed beneficiaries (minorities) themselves in a number of ways, only one of which is that ‘preferential admissions policies place some minorities in top law schools where they are unable to compete effectively, decreasing their chances of passing the bar and becoming lawyers’.

    This line of critique is quite old and well established. E.g. by Dinesh D’Souza in ILLIBERAL EDUCATION.

    Obtaining further support for the hypothesis is all to the good and will be helpful in further discrediting AA.

  • Tom S.

    Sander has theorized that preferential admissions policies place some minorities in top law schools where they are unable to compete effectively, decreasing their chances of passing the bar and becoming lawyers.

    Yes, and preferential admission policies decreases the chances of WHITES passing the bar and becoming lawyers also! Why is THAT never brought up? Everything thats done in this country always has to pass the ‘hows this going to affect blacks’ test, and I’m personally sick of it.

  • WR the elder

    We are in a sad state when the only legitimate reason to oppose affirmative action is by arguing that it might hurt black people. Obviously black people don’t agree, as they are the biggest advocates of policies of anti-white discrimination.

  • rjp

    Let’s see ….. let’s admit sub-par black JD’s to the bar.

    Black parasites hire them. Black parasites lose cases. Black parasites hire white lawyers when the sue their black lawyer.

    Get it?

    Whites can not win. (Unless we are the white lawyer sueing their black lawyer).

  • kgb

    [P]referential admissions policies place some minorities in top law schools where they are unable to compete effectively…

    So much for higher education, eh fellas? I thought the whole point of having a respectable law school was to winnow out the wheat from the chaff when you were selecting who got to be the best lawyers in the country.

    I think blacks have a “cargo cult” personality when it comes to diplomas and university degrees. Remember that primitive islanders in the south Pacific used to watch Marines building airstrips, and then voila! A plane would appear with supplies and everyone would be prosperous. So the islanders, mistaking cause for effect and having no idea of the infrastructure necessary to deliver cargo by air, started to “build” their own ersatz “airstrips” in the hopes that planes would magically appear.

    Blacks have the same relationship with college degrees. If I get the certificate, all the bling will come my way automatically — it doesn’t matter that there may be actual work involved.

  • ciccio

    Slight correction. What he really meant to say we should have the right to examine any record bar Obama’s.

  • whiteraven

    “Sander has theorized that preferential admissions policies place some minorities in top law schools where they are unable to compete effectively, decreasing their chances of passing the bar and becoming lawyers.”

    It doesn’t matter where they go to law school the vast majority wouldn’t pass the bar exams without some kind of unscrupulous finagling.

    Lawyers I don’t care about, but when it gets to the point where incompetent, unqualified blacks are practising medicine and filling prescriptions, then I’m afraid I have to draw the line at that. It’s criminal to set these people loose on the public.

  • Anonymous

    When I was in law school in Seattle in the 1970’s, this was a hot issue. Seems that blacks had a very low pass-rate for the bar exam back then as well. I suggested to some students that perhaps it was correlated with the much lower LSAT scores the blacks entered law school with (due to affirmative action), and that whites with equally low LSAT scores would also have low pass rates.

    This suggestion was met with outrage, and one otherwise intelligent law student speculated that the low pass rate existed because the test graders somehow recognized a “black” writing style and deliberately failed them to reduce the number of black lawyers.

    This shows the extent of the absurdity to which DWL’s go to avoid the obvious conclusion that LSAT’s really do measure something (reasoning ability? logical thinking?) that is strongly correlated with success on the bar exam. Said student was also wearing a black armband to show “solidarity” with the oppressed black law students! The black students even had special tutoring programs to get them through law school.

  • Question Diversity

    Prof. Sander is whistling the Confederacy if he thinks he can sell minorities on being against affirmative action because it “hurts” them. True, a given black undergrad might be better off going to a lesser known law school rather than Harvard Law, but eventually, Harvard Law will dumb down their standards so he can pass, and of course he’ll have tons of job offers with his “Harvard Law Degree.” Tell him again that affirmative action hurts him. The person you should be telling that AA hurts is the far more competent white lawyer with a degree from a lesser law school making a living ekeing out an existence chasing ambulances. Because it DID hurt him, and he would believe it, because he probably already realizes it.

  • Booth Tonningtark

    “Kgb” hit the nail on the head. The “cargo cult” delusion is in evidence in much of black popular culture. Black depictions of educational pursuits, and the intellectual life in general, almost always convey an acquisitive, rather than an inquisitive approach to the pursuit of knowledge. Even those members of the black community who attempt to call attention to and condemn the self-destructive attitudes of young blacks towards education will often seem utterly unfamiliar with the habits of thought and command of language employed by intelligent, intellectually curious people. I get impatient with “conservatives” who attempt to embrace Bill Cosby as a truth-teller, when his comments are always delivered in the tone of voice and speech patterns of someone who is incommoded by the strain of having to put words into sentences. It is as if he is saying, “Even a bumbler like me can see what the problem is with our community, so why not wise up, galumph towards those college degrees, and bumble into jobs in law and the medical profession?” Not to rail unduly against Cosby, but I am reminded of one of the episodes of his TV show, in which he urges his TV son to study. He affects the voice of someone talking about a magical yogic process, as he tells the boy to go the library, in order to ” smell all those old books, inhale that mildew and library dust and just BREATHE IN all of that KNOWLEDGE.”

  • ChemE

    As a libertarian conservative of the Cato Institute / Ludwig von Mises Institute variety, I tend to agree with Richard Sanders’ premise, with the caveat that the bar exam is an absolute measure of competence, i.e. it is not dumbed down to fit the law school from which a candidate graduates. Others such as Thomas Sowell (or was it Walter E. Williams?) have made a similar argument for college in general, that if blacks were admitted more in line with quantitative measures such as their SAT scores, they would attend schools where their intellect matched up more closely with their peers in those institutions and therefore would be more likely to graduate. If you believe in succeeding on one’s merits, how else would you craft an admissions policy than that based upon a person’s ability?