Paul L. Caron

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Appeals Court Affirms Denial Of Richard Sander's Request To Access California Bar Data To Study Racial Implications Of Bar Passage Rates

Sander Book CoverFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  the California Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed the trial court's denial of UCLA Prof Richard Sander's request to access California bar admissions data to study the racial implications of bar passage rates. Sander v. State Bar of California, Nos. A150061, A150625 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2018):

Appellants and petitioners Richard Sander and the First Amendment Coalition (Petitioners) challenge the trial court’s denial of their petition for writ of mandate seeking to obtain information from the State Bar of California’s bar admissions database. Specifically, Petitioners seek individually unidentifiable records for all applicants to the California Bar Examination from 1972 to 2008 in the following categories: race or ethnicity, law school, transfer status, year of law school graduation, law school and undergraduate GPA, LSAT scores, and performance on the bar examination. Making these records available to the public in a manner that protects the applicants’ privacy and anonymity, they believe, will allow researchers to study the potential relationship between preferential admissions programs in higher education and a gap in bar passage rates between racial and ethnic groups.

Following a bench trial, the superior court upheld the State Bar’s denial of Petitioners’ request on five independent grounds. We need address only the first of them. The court correctly found Petitioners’ request to be beyond the purview of the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code § 6250 et seq. (CPRA)) because it would compel the State Bar to create new records. Accordingly, we affirm.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise, C.A. Denies UCLA Law Professor’s Bid for Bar Information

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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We all know why the data is hidden. No one is fooled. If the data skewed how those administering these programs hoped, we'd be inundated with it.

Posted by: Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk | Aug 27, 2018 7:46:56 AM

How do academics get away with continually rehashing the same tired issue year after year and calling it a productive career? Prof. Sander has been at this for like 15 years now. He wrote some persuasive material that was novel (and courageous) at the time. Now he just keeps making the same point over and over again in a slightly different way. Academics on the left and the right are guilty of this.

Just in the last month I've had to research and apply issues relating to copyright, individual liability on wage claims, specific performance of a personal loan for bitcoin, applicability of automatic stay in bankruptcy to eviction action when lease is terminated, eligibility limitations in FINRA arbitration, etc. In the next month I have oral arguments in the appeals court, bankruptcy court, FINRA and local district court where I have to be familiar with all rules of civil procedure and local rules. In short, I have to learn new things all of the time. How do academics get away with just churning the same material year after year?

Posted by: JM | Aug 27, 2018 6:54:06 AM

Umm, y’all do know that Republicans invented affirmative action and a right wing Supreme Court justice establishes the legal justification for it, right?

Posted by: Steve | Aug 26, 2018 8:28:56 PM

"That's why they're after Trump."

Remind me again exactly what Trump has done to end affirmative action?

There are several executive orders he can unilaterally rescind without any help from Republicans in Congress. He has not done so.

His DOE has revoked some guidance on how to implement affirmative action, but that's not the same thing as ending or even discouraging it.

He's even said that ending Affirmative Action would be unfair to minorities.

I'm not saying this is good or bad, but the reality is that Republicans actions are often less hostile to affirmative action than their words.

Posted by: Republicans love identity politics | Aug 26, 2018 4:48:46 PM

I absolutely love the leftists claiming the the GOP keeps affirmative action alive as a campaign issue. It reminds me of how the Soviets and East Germans used to call the Berlin Wall an "anti-fascist protection barrier."

The truth is that the Republicans would love to reign in affirmative action but nothing else would so rouse the Dems base and play into the Dems' monstrous, divisive lie that the country is full of klansmen and Nazis.

Too funny ... if it weren't sad.

Posted by: Hilarious Stuff | Aug 26, 2018 2:03:29 PM

"The one thing we don't need is more studies of race."
Mike Livingston, the study is not about race. The study is about the negative impact affirmative action programs are having on minorities it was designed to help. One cannot fix something unless one knows it is broken.

Posted by: willis | Aug 26, 2018 10:36:10 AM

Republicans love identity politics: There's a reason for the terms RINO and UniParty.

That's why they're after Trump.

Posted by: SDN | Aug 26, 2018 10:11:09 AM

The one thing we don't need is more studies of race.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Aug 26, 2018 5:03:44 AM

The Republicans have the legal power to end affirmative action.

The President can rescind executive orders that established affirmative action. Congress can amend laws that encourage or require it. If the Republicans can pass tax reform with approximately zero Democratic support, they can end affirmative action.

And they've been able to do so for decades.

But they have not ended it--it's too valuable as a campaign issue.

So they only pretend to be against affirmative action.

Posted by: Republicans love identity politics | Aug 25, 2018 2:36:56 PM

It is amazing how far the left will go to hide the truth. Identity politics is killing this country's competitiveness in the world and all the left cares about is quotas.

Posted by: Ted | Aug 25, 2018 11:09:44 AM