I read an interesting article in the New York Times today that really aggravated me.I Also read an interesting article in the St. John’s Law Review entitled, "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment" by John Nussbaumer. I decided to write a response to both articles. I will post links to both articles at the end of this note. Enjoy!
Law schools continue to deny people of color a chance at enrollment. Since the criminal justice system affects people of color disproportionally, then an adequate amount of minorities should gain acceptance into law schools to pursue degrees, this must be done in order to give miniorities proper representation in the ameircian judiccial system. The American population continues to diversify, yet lawyers and judges continue to remain predominantly white. According to the New York Times from 1993 to 2008, Black and Mexican-American students who have applied for law school have improved their grade point averages and LSAT scores substantially, only to be denied admittance into law school. The LSAT is a standardized test which is used by law schools as a trump card to deny minority students acceptance; however, studies have shown that lawyers with lower LSAT scores tend to become better lawyers than those with higher LSAT scores. A standardized test cannot determine one's success or abilities in their field, but they are continuously being used to deter minorities from gaining admittance into law schools. The reason law schools rely heavily on LSAT scores during admittance is that they are mostly concerned with their rankings in the U.S. News World Report. Therefore, students with lower LSAT scores burden schools with lower rankings so these students are denied admittance to ensure higher rankings. However, these practices create racial disparities that are not being addressed, thus creating law schools that lack in diversity. Maragaret Martin berry, Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers said it best “If you’re so concerned with rankings, you’re going to lose a whole generation”.
In the United States Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003, the court ruled that race can be taken into account in law school admissions because a diverse student body is needed. Apparently things have gotten worse and the disparate numbers are not being taken into account. I propose that another case needs to be brought to the Supreme Court to address the disparate numbers of Blacks and Mexican-Americans being denied matriculation into law school. When a standardized test leaves a group of people isolated then a policy needs to be implemented to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to pursue academic success, regardless of how well an individual can perform on a standardized test. Those who are not affected by this disparity like to proclaim that those who do suffer from it are just not qualified, but several studies have proved that minorities who are denied acceptance tend to have higher grade point averages than those who gain acceptance. Although minority LSAT scores have improved in the recent years, the ABA Accreditation Committee continues to raise the 25th percentile LSAT scores. As a result, a huge decline in minority enrollment has resulted from these practices.
The ST. John’s Law Review has an article entitled "The Disturbing Correlation Between ABA Accreditation Review and Declining African-American Law School Enrollment". In this article the author John Nussbaumer pointed out that private institutes are free to consider diversity in their admissions process to the full extent of the law. Yet, most private institutes still suffer from low African-American and minority enrollment. Qualified students should be allowed into private schools since private institutes are not subject to strict state laws like public institutes are, but private law schools also continue to deny large amounts of minority students acceptance due to low LSAT scores. It is as though minority students are being punished because they cannot pass tests that were not designed to be passed by them. Essentially ones academic success holds no bearing if you cannot pass the LSAT. In addition, every time a school decides to increase their 25th percentile minimum LSAT score five points or more , the number of African-American students decrease. Researches want to know why these practices are continued despite the negative affects they have on minorities, but information is being with held that can potentially solve these problems.
The LSAT creates blockages for students who should otherwise be accepted into law schools. Blacks and Mexican-Americans and other minorities suffer disparately from these blockages as the statistics show. Students are not allowed to prove that they can perform, and that their LSAT scores are not a predictor of their potential to graduate from law school. Diversity must be accepted and enforced to ensure that society has an equal justice system representative of all people. This system continues to embrace white-supremacy by allowing standardized tests such as the LSAT to determine a person’s merit. This seems to be very reminiscent to Little Rock Arkansas in the 1950's. Blacks and minorities are still fighting for equal access to education. Those who benefit from this system must denounce it and be willing to lose what ever benefits they may posses for the betterment of all.