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American Bar Association Abusing Its Accreditation Power To Force Race-Focused Study On Law Students

American Bar Association Abusing Its Accreditation Power To Force Race-Focused Study On Law Students

Our column at Real Clear Politics: “Legal education is about to undergo a revolutionary change, with the American Bar Association poised to mandate race-focused study as a prerequisite to graduating from law school…. States enabled the ABA’s near-monopoly accrediting power, which now is being abused for ideological purposes. What the states gave the ABA, the states can and should take away.”

The American Bar Association once was a proxy for the American legal community. That was long, long ago. It has since moved to the left in many ways, so much so that Republicans now reject reliance on ABA judicial-nominee evaluations and ratings. ABA is just another group captured by the long march through institutions.

But it’s actually worse, because ABA is weaponizing its near-monopoly power to accredit law schools. In multiple proposals, one of which will be voted on by the ABA House of Delegates on February 14, 2022, and is all but certain to pass, ABA is forcing law schools to require that students take courses on race, particularly the CRT-driven systemic racism narrative. The hammer is that this is a requirement for the ABA to accredite the law school, so almost all law schools will have to comply.

Now, the traditional mandatory ‘building block’ courses on contracts, torts, constitutional law, and others will be accompanied by the mandatory study of race. Of course, courses on race — namely Critical Race Theory — are offered in many if not most law schools. But the study is voluntary. No longer. Ideological dogma will be enforced by the ABA.

ABA is abusing its accreditation power. States provided the ABA with this near-monolopy, and states need to act.

Johanna Markind, Esq. from the Legal Insurrection Foundation and I wrote an op-ed on the topic that ran this morning at Real Clear Politics.

Here is an excerpt, please click the link to read the whole thing at RCP, ABA Forcing Wokeness on Law Schools:

Legal education is about to undergo a revolutionary change, with the American Bar Association poised to mandate race-focused study as a prerequisite to graduating from law school. It’s another instance of woke ideology being forced on the nation, and may necessitate that states revisit the ABA’s government-granted near-monopoly accrediting power….

Whether or not ABA accreditation previously ensured quality, the ABA has become partisan, using its power to promote an ideological agenda.

The liberal bias of the ABA itself is not new. A study of ABA evaluations of judicial nominees from 1977-2008 found “strong evidence of systematic bias in favor of Democratic nominees,” who were likelier to be rated “well-qualified” than similarly qualified Republicans. Republicans have long recognized this. That’s why President George W. Bush discontinued ABA pre-screening of judicial nominees. Most Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans now treat the ABA merely as an advocacy group.

That may explain why ABA membership dropped from 300,000 (over 50% of the bar) in 1980 to 194,000 (14.4%) in 2017. ABA may once have been a proxy for the American legal community, but now it’s just a proxy for the left wing of the American legal community. Yet its accrediting power continues….

Now, the ABA wants to limit law student and faculty freedom of expression. Its proposed revision to Standard 303 (which will be presented to the ABA House of Delegates in mid-February 2022) mandates “educati[ng] law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.” Proposed Interpretation 303-7(3) suggests satisfying the new requirement with “[c]ourses on racism and bias in the law.” Proposed Interpretation 303-6 converts the existing professional responsibility requirement into teaching lawyers’ “obligation … to promote a justice system that provides equal access and eliminates bias, discrimination, and racism in the law.”

Without saying so openly, the revised standard in reality dictates that law schools should “institutionalize dogma,” as a group of Yale Law School professors objected. The obsessive focus on systemic racism, a subject of scholarly dispute, reveals the new standard’s Critical Race Theory underpinnings.

The ABA pretended to address the problem by adding Interpretation 303-8: “Standard 303 does not prescribe the form or content” of the required education. This doesn’t fix the problem, because law school faculties overwhelmingly lean hard left. Only the naïve or dishonest would expect schools to teach anything other than CRT and a “systemic racism” approach….

The most important action that states can take is to stop requiring bar applicants to graduate from an ABA-accredited school. Because state structures vary, in some states this may require changes implemented through state supreme courts or quasi-independent bar agencies. States also can substitute state licensing, as already takes place in Alabama, California, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, which allow graduates of local non-ABA law schools take their bar exams. States also should consider whether a law school degree is needed, by revisiting self-study and apprenticeship in lieu of increasingly politicized law school curriculum and related student debt.

Whatever the reform approach, action is needed. States enabled the ABA’s near-monopoly accrediting power, which now is being abused for ideological purposes. What the states gave the ABA, the states can and should take away.

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Comments

Hmmm. The abuse follows the concentration of power. Who would ever have predicted that?

    TX-rifraph in reply to irv. | February 10, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    That is the root cause. Any solution that does not eliminate that power is like spraying water on the flames rather than what is on fire.

    Milhouse in reply to irv. | February 15, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    And yet it does not follow it closely. The concentration of power happened the better part of a century ago, and yet it was not abused until now. I’m not sure what that means, but it should give one pause.

Okay. Talk true statistics as well, along with showing us proof your concept exists and show us an example of success that is based on merit while you are at it.

    ConradCA in reply to scooterjay. | February 10, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Show us where success is prevented by systemic racism. The truth is that racism is just an excuse for the failure of many blacks to succeed. The truth is that the ghetto gangster culture is the root cause of their failure to make good choices in their lives and thereby dooms them to failure.

Just look at what they are doing at Berkeley:

A new “loyalty oath” to teach at UC Berkeley:

Guidelines for Assessing Faculty Candidate Contributions to Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Berkeley 
https://ofew.berkeley.edu/recruitment/contributions-diversity#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWe%20recognize%20the%20intrinsic%20relationship,as%20our%20obligation%20and%20goal.%E2%80%9D

Applicants to UC Berkeley face the same barrier:

 The life-sciences department at the University of California, Berkeley reports that it rejected 76% of applicants in 2018-19 based on their diversity statements without looking at their research records.

https://archive.is/ItC6C#selection-4361.63-4365.125

UC Berkeley:
Participating departments applied the following standardized candidate evaluation processes to counter implicit bias and increase the value of candidate contributions to diversity in the evaluation process:
•
Requiring a statement on past contributions and future plans to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Candidates were directed to the Office for Faculty Equity and Welfare (OFEW) website for guidance in writing their statement and preparing for a campus visit if selected as a finalist.
• Search committees were given clear guidance about how to evaluate the statement in three areas: candidate knowledge and understanding, track record of contributions, and future plans if hired at Berkeley.
• At least one member of each search committee participated in annual training workshops organized by OFEW to counter implicit bias and reinforce best practices in candidate review and interviewing. • Committees used quantitative candidate assessment tools including a rubric to evaluate contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion.
• Finalists were asked to describe their efforts to promote equity and inclusion, as well as ideas for advancing equity and inclusion at Berkeley, as part of their job talk. They also met with the department equity advisor, and/or with a student panel during their on-campus interview.
• Only candidates who demonstrated, through their knowledge, past contributions, and/or future plans for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, potential to meet Berkeley standards were advanced as finalists and ultimately proposed candidates. 

https://ofew.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/life_sciences_inititatve.year_end_report_summary.pdf

https://audioboom.com/posts/8026213-2-2-asking-scotus-to-answer-affirmative-action-s-history-and-unknowns-richardaepstein-hoov

Quit many years ago. It is a proxy for ACLU and big tech,pharma,and the bankers of Wall Street.

I resigned from the ABA in fall of ’92 when at the annual meeting they had Hillary give an award of merit to Anita Hill, neither of which were even members. This was at the height of the presidential campaign. In response I got a smart ass note to the effect of, “So? We have plenty of members.”

As a lawyer what are the legal things a state legislature could do about abuses by the state bar association?

    lawgrad in reply to Danny. | February 12, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    No. The problem is the National organization, the ABA. In general, everyone benefits from a set of national standards. If your law school is accredited, it should count for admission in all 50 states. So there are national groups to address Bar Examiners (who give the tests), and the people who approve and certify law schools happen to be housed within the American Bar Association as opposed to some other free standing committee of law schools and professors. When the state legislatures write that you have to have a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school in order to take the Bar Exam, the ABE becomes empowered. Historically, this was to improve the quality of lawyers, rather than to certify sufficient “wokeness.”

I stopped listening when I read how the ABA amended their legal ethics code to punish lawyers for telling insensitive jokes out of court. It is past time that red states stopped sending members to this organization.

Expect the AMA to follow suit.

The ABA,like many bar associations and state court systems are clearly influenced by the woke world. Interested readers can take a look at these linkshttps://ww2.nycourts.gov/careers/diversity/index.shtml ( and the annexed links) as well as herehttps://nysba.org/nysbas-legislative-priorities-where-we-stand/https://nysba.org/nysba-journal-january-february-2022/ Then read this decision https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad1/calendar/List_Word/2021/06_Jun/24/PDF/Matter%20of%20Giuliani%20(2021-00506)%20PC.pdf

I would think state law would trump ABA policies, so conservatives should push to make sure that prohibitions on racist CRT teaching should apply to ALL levels of education, and if a public law school in that state complies with the ABA’s requirements on CRT, they lose ALL funding. I’m sure the state can also put pressure on private law schools by withholding benefits from those schools, or providing that the state and any subdivisions may not hire any graduates from law schools that promote CRT, regardless of what state they are located in.

    Milhouse in reply to wesdorman. | February 15, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Try regulating what tertiary institutions may teach, and you run right into first amendment problems, as well as problems with the doctrine of “academic freedom”, which a lot of people on all sides of politics subscribe to.

This is part of an old and ongoing scheme to push conservatives away from the study of law and further monopolize the left’s grasp on a critical sector of political force.

Sometimes the ABA is the only source for law books in obscure areas of the law.

I’ve been disgusted with the ABA for years (or decades), but I have had to hold my nose and let them make a slight profit when I order the desired books from them.

Why don’t they recognize that they have such bias? I guess they have the usual left-wing stance that they are completely right about everything, so it’s not even a political question; it’s just that they are 100% right and everyone else is a racist or misogynist.

One problem is that people are claiming that CRT and “systemic racism” are two separate things. To quote Thomas Sowell, institutional racism “really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses” and “it’s one of many words that I don’t think even the people who use it have any clear idea what they’re saying”.

The second problem is how is the course material to be validated? When a course in Constitutional Law is planned, the class discussions and the case book work from actual Supreme Court opinions. We can recite from memory what many of them say, Brown v Board, Bakke, etc.

Similarly, when teaching a class on Civil Rights Law, one can get into statutory materials, Fair Housing Act materials and regulations as well as cases. If a professor or a student makes an assertion, it can still be fact checked against the materials.

However, if the law school offers the typical course that is being pushed for the undergraduates that includes, “allyship”, “spectrum of oppression”, “intersectionality”, “institutional racism”, “reparative justice” and a bunch of other word salad, there is nothing to anchor the discussions. You can’t just make stuff up in Law School, but that is exactly what will happen.

    Fatkins in reply to lawgrad. | February 14, 2022 at 5:57 am

    With respect in this context its pretty obvious what is being expected. CRT is a legal analytical tool. Its origin is from legal law circles so the contents will be pretty well defined. The other things you throw in shouldn’t really be in it (assuming the course is actually CRT)

      Milhouse in reply to Fatkins. | February 15, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      Yes, it is obvious what is being expected. CRT is an outgrowth of Critical Legal Studies, which is an explicitly unpatriotic doctrine in which “systemic racism” takes the place that “lumeniferous ether” took in early 19th century physics and the four humors theory took in pre-modern medicine. It explains everything, but its existence must be taken on faith. It’s a poison that the USSR had its agents inject into the US academic system in order to soften us up for eventual conquest, but has outlived its creators and their original purpose and is now a zombie. Like Saberhagen’s Berserkers.

      I’m so old I remember when Democrats used to pretend outrage that we would dare to question their patriotism. Now they explicitly disavow and denounce patriotism.

Here is a possible alternative, require a course in “The Nature Function and Limits of Law” or in “Jurisprudence.” There is much scholarly writing over the past century about how and when law works and how society orders itself. Sometime “the law” fails. I think that the topics covered in a “race” course is just one example of a broader problem. Instead of teaching, “Law has failed many black people in lower socioeconomic brackets” one could consider the alternative explanations of why. Hint: CRT is not the only explanation. The goal of CRT and the BLM movement is to elevate race over all other factors and considerations in our society. By requiring a course focused upon “race” rather than upon jurisprudence, the ABA would be guilty of the same logical flaw.

There are only 180 credit hours in an ABA approved JD degree. What will each law student give up when forced to take the “race” course?

The “race” course will not only teach the wrong answers to society’s problems, it will teach indoctrination trumping the legal method..

This could very easily boomerang on the geniuses at the ABA.

When I was young, I never really even thought too much about race or disparaged black people or saw much of an issue.

In my first corporate job, I was required to sit in a room and listen to a fat, stupid black woman rail again whites. And how stupid and oppressive whites are.

That got me more into racial issues — and definitely not in the way that this crap was intended to push me.

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