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ABA Checked by Department of Education
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August 01, 2006, 04:08 PM
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The Department of Education decided recently to postpone renewal of the ABA`s accreditation priveleges. This, in response to the ABA`s attempt to rewrite their standards to require law schools to make "concrete action" to increase the numbers of racial and ethnic minorities in law school, is an unexpectedly wise move.

Not only does the ABA`s rewritten standard fly in the face of several state laws, but also, its results are questionable. Four concerned groups ( the Center for Individual Rights, the Center for Equal Opportunity, the American Civil Rights Institute, and the National Association of Scholars (NAS), plus five members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) wrote letters to the Department of Education, saying exactly that.

"Recent empirical evidence demonstrates that, contrary to what had been assumed, racially discriminatory admissions policies may actually decrease the number of minority attorneys who pass the bar rather than increase that number.... The reason is simple: Minority students who are preferentially admitted to elite law schools frequently do poorly there, while their similarly credentialed peers at less competitive law schools perform significantly better at their schools...The result may well be that racially preferential policies actually reduce the number of minority students who pass the bar."

Quin Hillyer reported in Don`t Pass This Bar (American Spectator, not online) that if the ABA stands firm with its race-based politics, and the Department of Education refuses to renew their status as an accrediting body, then the "self-important lawyer`s cartel" that is the ABA, is broken. Currently, the ABA thinks that its new diversity standard can somehow supersede all federal, state and constitutional provisions to the contrary. However, without the access to federal funding that is tied to accreditation, the ABA is powerless.

Let`s hope this isn`t just a passing virtuous fancy on the part of the Department of Education. They will review their decision this month.