The SC Bar Exam Scandal: Still No Independent Investigation

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Background information, if you don’t remember the details, is here.

The reasons the official version of events seems utterly implausible are laid out pretty well here.

The bad actors may get away with this, but their actions will not be forgotten. In a nutshell, we are supposed to believe that after at least two influential men (one the chair of the legislative committee that will decide whether to renew the judicial appointments of the SC Supreme Court Justices) contacted multiple authorities, including someone at the SCSC about whether one section of the bar exam “had an abnormally high failure rate,” the SCSC Justices completely coincidentally found a scrivener’s error related to the very same section. And, rather than correcting the scrivener’s error, the SCSC decided to throw out results from the entire section and allow 20 people who failed it to obtain admission to the SC Bar without retaking and passing the exam. Including the daughter of the man who has a lot of control over their job security. If it arose in a different context, do you think the Justices themselves would believe this story?

In fairness, if the SCSC Justices and all the other people involved made themselves, all available documentation and all other witnesses available for an independent investigation, they might be vindicated. But will that happen?

–Ann Bartow

Update: Moved to the top of the blog, so that I could highlight this:

“INFORMATION REQUESTS STYMIED”: The State, the local newspaper, reports:

In its efforts to find out more about how the results of the latest bar exam came to be changed, The State newspaper in recent months has submitted several requests for government documents under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act:

• Last month, 18 FOIA requests were submitted, seeking copies of any government e-mails or other public records from circuit judges, law clerks, USC and Charleston law school officials, and others regarding the bar exam controversy.

• In his written response to the newspaper, state Rep. Jim Harrison, R-Richland, said,”I have no records in my possession, public or private, that relate to the July 2007 South Carolina Bar examination.”

• In his written response on behalf of various circuit judges and their law clerks : including Harrison’s daughter, Catherine Harrison : S.C. Supreme Court Clerk of Court Dan Shearouse said they have”no such records.”

• George Lampl III, USC’s associate general counsel, gave a similar response on behalf of the USC School of Law.

• Andrew Abrams, the interim dean at the Charleston School of Law, denied the newspaper’s request, saying a private school wasn’t”subject to the provision of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.”

• The newspaper last year asked for copies of all e-mails starting Oct. 25 : the day before the court initially posted the names of the 428 people who passed the July test : that were sent or received by all five Supreme Court justices and eight law clerks.

• Shearouse in a written response said the e-mails were”not subject to disclosure by the court.”

: Rick Brundrett

I don’t have any first hand information about any of this, but I’m curious about the authenticity of this reported e-mail:

From: Goodstein, Diane S. Law Clerk (Kendall Burch)
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:57 PM
To: Nicholson, J. C. Law Clerk (Samantha Adair); Macauley, Alexander S. Law Clerk (Mary Williams); Russo, Thomas A. Law Clerk (Jesse Cartrette); Cothran, Ralph F. Jr., Law Clerk (Anne Hanley)
Subject: Bar Exam
Hey Y’all,
First of all I’m so sorry about the bar exam. This sucks. I need to know if any of you failed the Wills part of the exam and your score. My Dad and Catherine Harrison’s dad have been on the phone with the powers that be, and if we can get a big enough group together that failed the Wills section they are going to take it to the Sup. Ct and see if they’ll regrade our exams. Apparently, the examiner for the Wills section has been asked not come back. We have a slim chance, but I think that it is worth it. So far I have a list of 10 people that have failed the exam. They are Me, REDACTED. If you all know of anyone else that failed the Wills section PLEASE let me know because we need to show the court how outrageous they are. Again, I’m so sorry we all failed. I really can’t believe it.
Kendall Burch Source.

If that e-mail was sent to and/or from a state computer, and again, I do not know whether it was or not, but if it was, Shearouse is not being truthful. Moreover, the SC FOIA law requires that FOIA requests be enforced in the SC Circuit Courts, the very same institutions that are the subjects of the requests. Here’s wishing The State best of luck with that.

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0 Responses to The SC Bar Exam Scandal: Still No Independent Investigation

  1. Pingback: Question of the Day « Not Very Bright

  2. Pingback: FOIA, Part 2 « Not Very Bright

  3. USorThem says:

    Your links to background story on how this incident began do not work.

  4. Ann Bartow says:

    The State moved the articles behind a pay-per-view wall (i.e. into their archives).