Constitutional Law

Taking Pass on Wis. Bar Exam Could Be Unconstitutional, 7th Circuit Says


A federal court has revived a class action lawsuit over a unique Wisconsin attorney admission rule that admits newly minted graduates of state law schools to practice without requiring them to take the bar exam.

Those who graduated from law schools in other states but wish to practice in Wisconsin should be given a chance to prove their case that this admission rule unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state residents, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals holds. Its written opinion (PDF) Thursday was authored by Judge Richard Posner.

The trial court judge said the rule passed constitutional muster, because Wisconsin residents who graduate from law school elsewhere must sit for the bar exam in their home state just the same as out-of-state residents. But the 7th Circuit disagreed, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

By creating an arbitrary distinction between Wisconsin law school graduates and others, the so-called diploma privilege could burden interstate commerce by influencing where law students go to school, Posner writes.

Hat tip: Inside Higher Ed.

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