When Republicans start asking an organization to make more use of its regulatory authority, you know that organization has grossly failed its mandate.

We’ve documented the pressure Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has been putting on the ABA. Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) decided to join the party. He also wrote a letter to the ABA asking it to “account for its work on behalf of both law students and taxpayers.”

Grassley’s on the Senate Judiciary committee. I bet the ABA will want to stay on his good side….

Grassley’s letter poses 31 questions to Stephen Zack, the President of the ABA. The Senator expects a response in two weeks!

You can see all of the questions here.

Remember, this is government work. Some of these questions could have been answered by a Grassley staffer and an hour on Google. For instance, look at question #21:

21. From 1990 to the present, has the American Bar Association ever placed a law school on probation?

And some of these questions have more to do with Senator Grassley’s long-standing issues than anything specific about the ABA. If you’ve ever watched Grassley during SCOTUS confirmation hearings, you will recognize the underlying point behind question #25:

25. When examining candidates for membership on the accreditation committee, what efforts does the American Bar Association make to ensure that membership is balanced between legal practitioners and academics?

It’s a fun little questionnaire, but Grassley’s main point is the bait-and-switch nature of some law school “merit” scholarships. Boxer talked about this in her last letter, too. Apparently, this really pisses off the political establishment.

You know, thousands of students defaulting on debt because the price of school is way too high is a problem, too, but don’t bait-and-switch people! Hey, whatever works. Whatever it takes. Whatever needs to happen to get the ABA to seriously reevaluate how it accredits law schools, I’m all for it.

Welcome to the party, Senator Grassley. There’s pie and punch in the back of our now, officially, bi-partisan ABA bashing party.

Law School Accreditation Standards Questioned by U.S. Senator [WSJ Law Blog]


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