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Michigan man's case against American Bar Association & LSAT could go to U.S. Supreme Court

LSAT study books.
user Shane S
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LSAT study books.

A Michigan man wants blind people to be able to opt out of taking the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT. And now, he’s taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Five years ago, Angelo Binno sued the American Bar Association for disability discrimination.

The Bar says law schools are required, as part of their admissions process, to only accept students that have taken the LSAT or another “valid and reliable test.”

If a school doesn’t, except for in very limited circumstances, it can be sanctioned or have its accreditation taken away.  According to the ABA rules, the test is to “assist the school in assessing an applicant’s capability to satisfactorily complete the school’s program of legal education.”

But Binno says as a blind man, he couldn’t draw the diagrams required for the logic games portion of the LSAT, and scored too low on the test. He says that’s why he was rejected from every law school he applied to.

Binno argues just because he can’t draw a diagram, doesn’t mean he would be a bad attorney.

“It’s about spatial relationships and it doesn’t test anybody’s ability to succeed as a lawyer, and it doesn’t test success in law school,” he says.

The American Bar Association has said in the past that they are the wrong organization to be sued in this case. Instead, they argued during previous litigation, Binno should be suing individual law schools that wouldn’t admit him.

But Binno’s attorney, Jason Turkish disagrees.

“If you require something, if you force somebody to take an exam, you should be liable if that exam is discriminatory,” he says.

While the ABA technically allows for a different test besides the LSAT for admission, Turkish claims in reality there is only one test to take.

“The American Bar Association forces this young man to litigate all the way to the United States Supreme Court to prove that a blind person shouldn’t draw a picture,” he said.

A spokesperson for the American Bar Association was unable to comment because they had not received the petition yet. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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