Paul L. Caron

Friday, March 10, 2006

Groups Opposed to ABA's New Diversity Requirements Seek Revocation of ABA's Power to Accredit Law Schools

Interesting article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education: Opponents of Affirmative Action Seek Revocation of ABA's Accrediting Power, by Katherine S. Mangan:

Three prominent groups opposed to affirmative action asked the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday to revoke the American Bar Association's authority to accredit law schools unless the association drops requirements that the groups consider "discriminatory" and "politically correct."

The Center for Equal Opportunity and the National Association of Scholars each sent letters to the department complaining about the association's new, tougher stance aimed at ensuring compliance with its diversity requirements. A third group, the Center for Individual Rights, was drafting a similar letter late Wednesday and expected to send it by the end of the day. "It is outrageous that the ABA should use its accreditation authority to force law schools to engage in politically correct and illegal discrimination," Roger B. Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said in a written statement accompanying his letter. "It would be even more outrageous were the Department of Education to allow the ABA to extort such illegal and unfair behavior."

David Bernstein (George Mason) notes: "I'm beginning to think that the ABA has seriously overplayed its hand, and the result may be a weakening of its stranglehold over legal education that goes well-beyond its authority on the 'diversity' issue."

Eric Goldman (Marquette) has similar thoughts:  "I've always been struck by the ABA's (and AALS's) seemingly unrestricted power to mandate debatable normative goals as part of the accreditation process, so it's interesting to see some pushback/accountability for accreditation standards. With the ABA now facing its own accreditation evaluation, perhaps the ABA will experience first-hand the challenges of being under substantive review!"

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Tracked on Mar 10, 2006 8:32:42 AM