Commentary: The American Bar Association’s Coming Free-Speech Intervention

January 17, 2024 1 min read

Mark Pulliam
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Excerpt:  To its credit, the American Bar Association, responsible for accrediting the nation’s law schools for purposes of eligibility for federal student loans and graduates’ bar admission, is considering a proposal (sponsored by the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar) that would require law schools to adopt policies protecting the free-speech rights of faculty, staff, and students. It would also prohibit disruptive conduct interfering with free expression (such as the “heckler’s veto”) and provide for due process for those accused of violating the policy.

The ABA’s accreditation rules carry great weight, because law schools that do not comply face the loss of their accreditation—in effect, capital punishment. Law schools cannot ignore the ABA when accreditation is at stake, and the ABA knows it.

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