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Man still fighting dismissal of bar exam suit

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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 wants a federal judge to reopen his case, arguing that he has no other legal recourse available and the court’s refusal to allow relief is contrary to established precedent.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has dismissed the federal suit with prejudice, but plaintiff Clarence K. Carter filed a request this week that it be reopened. His case centers on claims that state justices and the BLE have violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection to sit for the bar exam in Indiana, even though he hasn’t attended law school. Administrative Rule 13 doesn’t allow for that, and Carter alleges the requirement arbitrarily excludes him from the chance to qualify to practice law in this state as a result of law school admittance denials. The case is Carter v. Chief Justice and Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, et al., No. 1:10-CV-0328.

Judge Pratt had dismissed the case nearly two months ago for failure to state a claim that warrants relief, but Carter raised questions about whether that dismissal was with or without prejudice. The court’s Rule 41 dictates that a dismissal is with prejudice unless the court specifies otherwise, but regardless of that rule Carter alleges that “extraordinary circumstances” exist in this case and that requires the judge to re-open his suit. Judge Pratt had also denied other motions he filed in February.

Specifically, Carter alleges the court’s basis for denying a request for relief is in direct conflict with the practice and conformity of the 7th Circuit. He cites Chaundhry v. Nucor Steel-Indiana, 546 F. 3d 832 (7th Cir. 2008), which held that “terminating a case on the same day the court grants a motion to dismiss a complaint is somewhat unorthodox.” That denied him the right to amend his complaint, Carter says. He also alleges the District Court incorrectly calculated days for timely filings. The previous judgments should be vacated and the case opened again so that he can amend his complaint, his new motion states.

No appeals have been filed as of today in this case with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the court docket.

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  • Updates?
    Clarence- what your doing here is of great importance to lovers of liberty everywhere. Any updates?
  • Let them test...
    I say let them test. I would like to do it as well. If one can pass the test, perhaps it should be an automatic pass to go to law school. Then again maybe law school is not needed at that point. Perhaps a stint at a law firm or or court would work to polish the practical procedures.
    Remember that not all law school graduates got "A"s. There were the bottom of the class folks as well. Are they better than the self taught? Not necessarily. Let the law schools compete for the cream. Allowing home-schooled and self-taught in addition to "reading the law" would add some competition to the profession.
    The market will do the rest. The market will punish the poor performers with zero business. The court will sanction incompetent practioners.
    I suspect that these non-ABA school attorneys would have a specific specialty in mind and they may even excel at it.

    I'd like to bet that I can pass the test. As a top of the class student and a life studier, my interest level has piqued to the point that I would really like to pursue this. The only way for me would be to take the bar and then study more.
    Again, let him take it. If he can pass, how does that bode for the many who can not? Perhaps it is an embarassment for the schools with low passing ratios?

    Accept the challenge. Some people are able to do it and do it well.
  • Let Me Do It
    Thank you for comment. I am holding my own in this complex litigation. So I am sure I can hold down a successful practice. If the bar exam is designed to weed-out incompetent individual then let's see if I am a weed. Although, the case is not about taking bar it is about law school is not attainable by reasonable study due to arbitrary admission practice to get into law school, which have nothing to do with being competent to practice law. After the bachelor degree and LSAT the admission process goes into a world of arbitrariness, which makes the graduation requirement unconstitutional. Read-Dent v. West Virginia, 129 U.S. 114 (1889)
  • Let Him Do It!
    Having gone through almost my entire law school career, interned in multiple law offices and government entities and seen numerous practicing attorneys in Indiana, I say let him take the test. Law school in no way prepares you to practice - who knows, maybe he will go on to do amazing things in the area of law. If one can study on his own and pass the bar exam, who is to stop him?

    All the attorneys practicing now don't remember everything from law school anyway - I dare someone to explain the Rule Against Perpetuities right now...

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