Friday, June 10, 2011

Sander v. State Bar of California (Cal. Ct. App. - June 10, 2011)

A member of the public wants to get bar passage data so he can study differential pass rates for various ethnic groups.  Do you think he should get it?  There's no First Amendment right of access, but maybe a common law right.  Should we extend that right to the data?

Does it matter which side of the debate he's on; e.g., whether he's trying to argue that the bar exam discriminates against minorities or -- as here -- that affirmative action is a bad idea?  Hopefully the content doesn't matter.  Though the Court of Appeal carefully avoids saying which side of the debate the petitioner here is on in a way that makes you think it might well be relevant to at least some readers.

The trial court thought he shouldn't get the data.  The Court of Appeal reverses, remanding for an assessment of privacy and other interests.

This one attracted (as you might imagine) a not-insignificant number of amici, including several law professors here in California.  Needless to say, it's a somewhat contentious dispute.  One that's far from finally resolved.