Law Students

DOJ Intervenes In LSAT Disability Bias Class Action, Says 'Flagging' of Tests Violates ADA

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The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to intervene on behalf in a class action filed against the Law School Admission Council in federal court in San Francisco over claimed discrimination against disabled test-takers in the administration of the Law School Admission Test.

In what the LSAC has called a novel argument in a court filing, the DOJ explains in a press release that it considers the “flagging” the scores of test-takers who received accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act–that is to say, “essentially announcing to law schools that examinees who exercise their civil right to the testing accommodation of extended time may not deserve the scores they received–is discrimination prohibited by the ADA,” according to Reuters.

The DOJ also says that the LSAC makes it too difficult for individuals who qualify to get accommodations when taking the LSAT. A statement of interest (PDF) filed by the DOJ in June in the Northern District of California case discusses its position in detail.

In a Wednesday letter (PDF), American Bar Association President Laurel G. Bellows urges Calif. Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. to enact into law a state statute that mirrors policy recommended by the ABA’s Commission on Disability Rights and unanimously adopted in February 2012 by the ABA’s House of Delegates.

It calls for reasonable accommodation of disabled individuals taking the LSAT, a fair and expeditious process of determining what accommodations should be granted and the elimination of flagged test scores provided to law schools.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog also has a story about the DOJ’s intervention effort.

The original lawsuit was filed in March by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, on behalf of nearly 20 test-takers.

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