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Lawsuit to take bar exam dismissed, re-filed

March 19, 2010

The man who sued the Indiana Supreme Court and State Board of Law Examiners because he wants to take the bar exam without going to law school had his case dismissed in federal court this week due to failure to pay the filing fee. He then re-filed his suit Thursday, alleging the same claims.

Clarence K. Carter filed suit against the Supreme Court justices and the Board of Law Examiners in January claming Admission Rule 13, which provides the educational requirements to sit for the bar exam, violates his rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Carter failed to pay his filing fee for the first suit and wanted the court to grant him in forma pauperis status. Carter had been ordered to pay $50 a month for seven months to cover the filing fee. Chief Judge Richard Young dismissed the case without prejudice Wednesday for failure to prosecute by not paying the fee. Carter filed a nearly identical suit in federal court Thursday. The new case is Carter v. Chief Justice and Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, et al., No. 1:10-CV-0328.

In both suits, Carter says his applications to 13 American Bar Association-approved law schools were all denied. He alleges Rule 13 violates his due process rights because the rule unconstitutionally prejudges him as "being unfit and incompetent to practice law" here, doesn't allow him the chance to prove his fitness, and believes the educational requirements have no connection to his fitness and ability to practice law in Indiana.

Carter also argued the rule arbitrarily excludes him from the chance to qualify to practice here because of the law schools' admission denials. The suit alleges the rule unconstitutionally denies equal opportunity to qualify to practice law here to those who can't get into law school or can't afford to attend law school.

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