Last week's column demonstrated the harm, suffered by black students, that results from law school race-based admission policies. The bottom line was that black students who might have done well at lower-tier law schools were recruited to more highly competitive law schools and turned into failures. One might be tempted to place the full blame for such callousness on deans of law schools, but the true villain is the American Bar Association.
The American Bar Association is the accreditation agency for all law schools. If a law school has not been accredited by the ABA, it is ineligible for federal funding; its students are ineligible for student loans; most states do not allow graduates of a non-ABA-accredited law school to sit for the bar examination. As Professor Gail Heriot says in her article "Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," in the Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues (2008), "A law school that is not in the good graces of the ABA is thus not a law school at all."
George Mason University Law School's experience provides an excellent example of ABA abuse. In 2004, the ABA summoned the university president and the law school dean before its Accreditation Committee and threatened the institution with revocation of its accreditation for its supposed lack of diversity. Shivering in their boots, the GMU administration reported a diversity improvement since the ABA's site visit in 2000. Their entering class of 2003 was 17 percent minority and their 2004 class was 19 percent minority and they had appointed a diversity czar. Despite these efforts, the ABA was not satisfied. They complained that of the 99 minority students admitted in 2003, only 23 were black, and of the 111 minorities admitted in 2004, still only 23 were black, even though, in 2004, 63 black students had been offered admission.