ABA at Risk for Contempt; Justice Sees Decree Violated
Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Justice Department yesterday asked a federal judge to hold the American Bar Association (ABA) in civil contempt for violating a 1996 antitrust consent decree that prohibited the ABA from misusing the law school accreditation process.
The department also filed a proposed order and a stipulation in which the ABA would acknowledge the violations and agree to reimburse the government $185,000 in fees and costs incurred during the department's investigation. The proposed order is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
"The antitrust division takes compliance with court decrees very seriously," said Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, who heads the department's antitrust division. "No one is above the law and those who do not comply with their obligations under court orders must be prepared to face consequences."
ABA spokeswoman Serena Butler said yesterday that the organization does not comment on pending court litigation.
In June 1995, the department filed an antitrust lawsuit against the ABA in U.S. District Court in Washington, accusing the association of allowing its law school accreditation process to be misused by law school personnel with a direct economic interest in the outcome of accreditation reviews, resulting in anti-competitive conduct.
A year later, the court entered an agreed-upon final judgment prohibiting the ABA from fixing faculty salaries and compensation, boycotting state-accredited law schools by restricting the ability of their students and graduates to enroll in ABA-approved schools, and boycotting for-profit law schools. …