SC Supreme Court “not off the hook”

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New article about the SC Bar scandal here. It notes:

… In reversing the grades, the court apparently violated its own order in March banning re-grading after the scores were released by the S.C. Board of Law Examiners, which administers the test. Willful violation of a Supreme Court order is grounds for discipline, under the court’s own rules.

Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, told The State in a recent interview she couldn’t recall a similar situation in any other state in her 13 years leading the organization. …

It includes these words from Feminist Law Prof Deborah Rhode:

Deborah Rhode, director of Stanford Law School’s Center on Ethics, said an outside review of the Supreme Court’s handling of the bar exam matter is needed.”Certainly, you’ve got the appearance of bias.”

“This is a classic illustration that you ought not to have ethical complaints against that body being resolved by that body,”said Rhode, who reviewed the Supreme Court’s statement on the issue at the request of The State.

“The problem,”she said,”is not that people are consciously acting to further their professional or personal concerns. It’s one of tunnel vision.”

–Ann Bartow

Update: Jim Chen says:

If an investigation comes to pass, hell indeed will have frozen over, and a squadron of pigs, presumably escaping Carolina’s barbecue pits, will fly in formation from Rock Hill to Hilton Head.

I promise I will salute.

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0 Responses to SC Supreme Court “not off the hook”

  1. chenx064 says:

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for picking up the story again. I’ve also blogged about The State’s latest story:

    http://money-law.blogspot.com/2007/12/foxes-hens-and-pigs-oh-my.html

    There are links back to you and to Not Very Bright.

    Jim

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Thanks, Jim. Outsiders seem to have a hard time understanding why lawyers inside South Carolina are so afraid of retaliation if they demand a full accounting with respect to this sorry episode. I suspect you do, though. Thanks for caring.

  3. Ralph M. Stein says:

    Fearing retaliation is understandable. Avoiding taking an ethical stand because of that fear insures it achieves its purpose silently.

  4. Ann Bartow says:

    Well, one thing Jim knows that wouldn’t be obvious to outsiders is that the retaliation would be institutional as well as personal. Law school funding could again be cut by the Legislature, the SCSC could again decide to “mandate” aspects of our curriculum to mess with us, as they have done in the past, and the SCSC and other judges could refuse to hire any of our students as clerks. I don’t have the time or inclination to give you a whole history of bad things that have happened to my law school when powerful people got angry, but suffice to say, it isn’t pretty. And whatever (valid) negative things you want to say about us, we care about our students a lot.

  5. Pingback: Blogosphere Stirring Again « Not Very Bright

  6. Ralph M. Stein says:

    Ann,

    I have no desire to say anything negative about your school or your state and I’m sure your faculty cares deeply about its students as do virtually all of us who teach.

    State meddling in educational matters as a form of coercion isn’t new. Remember when a Southwestern law school stood up to threats to cut funding after it admitted a convicted felon, a killer I believe.

    I don’t want to sound “preachy” but ethics begins at home, meaning the school and its faculty. If professors will allow the fear of retaliation to stop them from taking firm steps to protest obvious misfeasance in the courts, it is unrealistic to expect students to take THEIR ethical duties seriously.

  7. Ann Bartow says:

    If professors will allow the fear of retaliation to stop them from taking firm steps to protest obvious misfeasance in the courts, it is unrealistic to expect students to take THEIR ethical duties seriously.

    Easy for you to say. I’m not sure what “firm steps” are even possible. If you want to see yet another example of what the SCSC is capable of, read this:
    http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=1068
    In that case the tools to oppose the SCSC’s actions were apparent, however. In this situation they are not.

    My faculty will not take a public position on this issue. In addition to the reasons I noted above, our clinicians in particular fear retaliation against clinic clients if the law school wades into this. Based on everything I’ve seen and heard since I moved here, that fear is legitimate. I still think we should take a stand but I am clearly in the minority on this.