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Ben Kurtz writes about the push to lower standards on the California bar exam in the name of Diversity.
California has a relatively difficult bar exam to qualify to practice law in the Golden State.
And it has the usual racial gaps in achievement. (The data above comes from a California Bar PDF from February 2016. I had to rearrange it in Excel to make the numbers easier to understand at a glance.)
On the whole, blacks only pass it 2/5th as often as whites, Hispanics 2/3rds as often, and Asians 3/4th as often. The ratios for first time test-takers are a little more even, but since more nonwhites fail the test the first time and wind up retaking it, the total gaps are bigger than the first time ones.
There are three alternative policies in reaction to The Gaps:
- Don’t Do Anything. The system is working fine, producing the results that we more or less see everywhere else on most tests California has no shortage of lawyers. There are no cases rotting in the courts, so to continue to use an objective test to select better attorneys is a good idea.
- Impose Quotas: whites would need to score higher to pass than other groups.
- Lower Standards: Cut the cut score and call to the bar more semi-competent attorneys from each group, including whites.
The leaders of the California Bar Association want to Lower Standards, which would appear to be the worst of the three choices from a utilitarian standpoint.
Something that’s worth noting is that pros and cons of these three alternative policy responses to Gaps have been well understood by the tiny number of people who think hard and honestly about social policy for at least 45 years.
But there is little evidence that, even after a couple of generations, this awareness of trade-offs has penetrated into the consciousness of run of the mill American elites, such as leaders of the California Bar Association. Instead, everybody seems to think of themselves as confronting a unique situation, or at least one that nobody has ever approached before from a standpoint of non-racist goodwill.
The intellectual impoverishment of our discourse and policy-making is evident in a society where everybody is walking on eggshells fearing to be identified as a Badthinker.
Here’s a video preview of the typical incremental white lawyer California is in line for: