By David Ingram
WASHINGTON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The federal government wants
to throw its support behind a group of prospective lawyers who
accuse those running the Law School Admission Test of
discriminating against test takers with disabilities.
Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday filed a
motion to intervene in a class action in federal court in San
The motion said the LSAT's organizer, the Law School
Admission Council, discriminates against people with
disabilities in two ways: by having onerous or vague standards
for how much documentation the council requires and by informing
law schools of which test takers received disability-related
The Law School Admission Council has denied the accusations.
Its motion to dismiss the lawsuit is pending. A spokeswoman on
Thursday had no additional comment.
The admissions offices of U.S. law schools generally require
applicants to take the LSAT.
In a statement on Thursday, Thomas Perez, the U.S. assistant
attorney general for civil rights, said that the Americans With
Disabilities Act of 1990 "demands that each individual with a
disability have the opportunity to fairly demonstrate their
abilities so they can pursue their dreams."
California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing
brought the class action in March.
It is rare for the Justice Department to attempt to
intervene in a class action, but it said the case is important
to the enforcement of the disabilities law.
The department's proposed intervention lays out examples
from those who have attended law school, or who want to, and say
they have been discriminated against.
The practice of telling law schools about LSAT
accommodations, known as flagging, announces to admissions
officers "that examinees who exercise their civil right to the
testing accommodation of extended time may not deserve the
scores they received," the Justice Department said.
The Law School Admission Council in a July 11 court brief
called that a novel argument.
"DOJ made no such claim when it entered into a settlement
agreement with LSAC in 2002 after conducting a lengthy
investigation of LSAC's accommodation policies and practices,"
the council said.
The case is Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law
School Admission Council Inc, U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California, No. 3:12-cv-1830.
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