'Woke' lawyers trigger suggestion to end ABA's near-monopoly on accrediting

Two lawyers, experts in the nation’s legal structure, are suggesting that states may need to revisit their unanimous decision to grant the American Bar Association the authority to accredit law schools.

It’s because of the “woke” nature of the ABA’s agenda, explained William A. Jacobson, a clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School, and Johanna E. Markind, a research editor and counsel at Legal Insurrection Foundation.

The advised in a column at Real Clear Politics that it’s the ABA that now is poised to “mandate race-focused study as a prerequisite to graduating from law school.”

It’s just the latest “woke ideology” to be forced on America, and “may necessitate that states revisit the ABA’s government-granted near-monopoly accrediting power,” they explained.

The ABA’s power comes from the fact that law students are required to attend schools accredited by the Department of Education to receive federal student loans. And the ABA is the only federally group recognized to accredit law schools.

“Yet, ABA’s accreditation power doesn’t depend only on federal law. Graduating from a law school accredited by ABA is required in almost every state for applicants seeking admission to the bar. All 50 states recognize ABA accreditation. With only a small number of exceptions, most accept only ABA accreditation,” they explained.

The arguments over why the ABA was given near-monopoly power over its industry remain disputed, but the column said one suggestion that “the ABA’s primary motivation was to limit competition.”

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

The organization’s liberal bias isn’t new, they said.

“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.”

They explained Republicans long have known this and the status prompted President George W. Bush to discontinue ABA pre-screening of judicial nominees.

Also, “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.”

They point out that the ABA already has adopted rules that law professor Eugene Volokh described as suggesting the ABA wants to “limit lawyers’ expression of viewpoints that it disapproves of.”

Now it wants to impose its ideology with its new “bias” training.

It wants, in fact, to require a “justice system that provides equal access and eliminates bias, discrimination, and racism in the law.”

The lawyers explained, “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 change, they explained, is huge. Previous standards were “general principals of education.”

Now, they are to require “bias” education.

States should act, they propose.

“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.”

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