The California legislature can’t force the state supreme court to retroactively accept bar scores between 1390 and 1430 as passing, but they’ve made their feelings known on the subject. HR 103 begged the judiciary to adopt its own standard and allow scores from the last five years to be counted for the purpose of licensure, which would allow past examinees to count scores that would pass under the newly adopted 1390 standard.
In the end, the resolution wasn’t even controversial, passing by unanimous consent sometime after midnight.
Nor should it be controversial. If you maintain that the bar examination produces consistent measures over time — which California does — then a 1400 in February is the same as a 1400 now and there’s no reason to treat them differently. Add in that it minimizes the number of applicants that have to take the looming disaster of the next bar exam administration and it’s a no-brainer. These are all points that were adequately briefed and then summarily ignored by the justices.
It’s another instance of legislators getting out ahead licensing reform of the issue where bar examiners and courts have faltered, with New York and Hawai’i both calling for the cancellation of the bar exam for different reasons. Score another one for responsive government!
Whether or not the court heeds the calls coming from the legislative branch remains to be seen.
Earlier: California Holds Hearing On Retroactive Bar Exam Score Resolution
California Bill Recommends Lowering Cut Score Retroactive To 2015
California Supreme Court Refuses To Apply New Cut Score Retroactively
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.