Failed Massachusetts bar applicant sues because he doesn't want to answer a question about Massachusetts law

Stephen Dunne failed the state bar exam by about one point (out of 270) after refusing to answer a question about parenting rights in a gay marriage (which, natch, is legal in Massachusetts). Naturally, he is now suing the state Board of Bar Examiners (in federal district court), claiming the question infringed on his freedom of religion and rights to due process and equal protection. Oh, and the question also violates the interstate commerce provisions of the Constitution, he argues. He is acting as his own attorney.

Via Emily , who has some choice words for him.

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      Okay ...

      By on

      So, if this guy was asked a question about liquor laws, and he were a Mormon or a Muslim or other temperate sort, he could sue because they were forcing him to drink?

      Boggles.The.Mind.

      Given the unusual situation in MA, one would think it a tad remiss if the bar exam DIDN'T contain at least one question about gay parenting and family law!

      I suspect this guy knew he was sinking and wasn't going to pass, so he omitted the question. Now we know why the bar is so high - oops - forcing him to smoke pot now!

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      Seriously. I like how he's

      By on

      Seriously. I like how he's sure it's THAT SPECIFIC QUESTION that caused him to fail instead of any of the others he missed.

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      He got distracted

      By on

      The thought of lesbians ... then lesbians hitting each other ... and gay stuff. Yeah. It turned him on so much that he couldn't concentrate on the central issues and disentangle the soap opera in to legal chunks.

      Now that he failed, it is all the fault of lesbians! Yes! And the Homo-sexual Agenda making him even think about gay sex.

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      The question in question

      By on

      From the February, 2007 bar-exam essay questions, via Pam's House Blend (and after reading the question, wow, family law sounds like one big soap opera - and the question really a veiled attempt to convince the public why they should ALWAYS hire a lawyer):

      4. Mary and Jane, both attorneys, were married two years ago in Massachusetts. The day before their marriage, Mary and Jane each fully disclosed their assets to the other and signed an antenuptial agreement (the "Agreement") in which each of them agreed that if they were ever divorced (i) they would divide any joint marital property evenly, (ii) they would not seek or accept any property that the other brought into the marriage, and (iii) they would not seek or accept child support or alimony from the other. The Agreement was drafted and reviewed by an attorney representing Jane. Mary did not hire an attorney to review the Agreement as she "trusted Jane."

      At the time of the marriage Jane had a two year old adopted child, Philip, and Mary was three months pregnant. When Mary gave birth in Boston six months later to Charles, Mary and Jane were listed on his birth certificate as his parents. Mary has treated and referred to Philip as her son, although she did not adopt him. Mary, Jane, Philip and Charles lived in a house in Boston owned by both Mary and Jane. The down payment for this house came only from Mary. Jane was the sole supporter of the family, while Mary stayed at home taking care of Philip and Charles. Mary had no savings, while Jane had over a million dollars in savings from an inheritance that she received when her mother died three years ago. Yesterday Jane got drunk and hit Mary with a baseball bat, breaking Mary's leg, when she learned that Mary was having an affair with Lisa. As a result, Mary decided to end her marriage with Jane in order to live in her house with Philip, Charles, and Lisa. What are the rights of Mary and Jane?

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      Ow. On multiple levels. And

      By on

      Ow. On multiple levels. And one wonders, would this guy have gotten the question right if Mary had been Michael? Well, I suppose Michael wouldn't have been pregnant, but the answer would be the same, right?

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      Bible law won't help you here!

      By on

      If Jane were James then he could have just told Mary to obey her husband and this wouldn't happen. Can't do that if they are gay, so he will have to actually know what Mary's legal rights are!

      Notice that Mr. Pious had no issue with being asked a question about Teh Divorce!

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      Church of Stupid

      By on

      In the Church of Stupid, nobody has to answer any questions if they don't like the answers. Like answers that include the term "Pro Bono," which is like wicked offensive to people who don't like U2. Or any Latin, because that's discriminatory against non-Latins. Or questions about Or the word "probation," because...

      Stephen Dumb must be a prelate in the Church of Stupid.

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      Good Lorg.

      By on

      Um, is 270 a perfect score? Because mosts tests you can get something wrong and still pass...

      And yes, totally boggles the mind. Shouldn't he know these laws so he can fight them if he feels strongly about them (not saying he should fight them, just that, well, duh, there's two sides to the law).

      I think when he loses his lawsuit they should bar him from ever taking the bar again, based on pure stupidity.

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      I found this: Essentially,

      By on

      I found this:

      Essentially, the Bar Exam is composed of 2 parts: a 200 question multiple choice exam covering 6 topics (Constitutional Law, Torts, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Evidence) called the MBE - or Multi-state Bar Exam. This portion of the Exam is given in most other jurisdictions and is a significant portion of the Massachusetts Exam, comprising of a morning and afternoon session. In addition, there is an Essay component to the Exam which also comprises of a morning and afternoon session. Here, one will be given approximately 10 essays, 5 in the first session and 5 in the latter, where one must quickly read, analyze, outline, and write a clear, correct and succinct response[...snip..]One does not need a perfect score to pass, but one does need to attain about 60% of all possible points. [emphasis added by me] Therefore, it is almost more important to know how to test that it is to know the law. A good place to look for Massachusetts Bar Exam Information is the Board of Bar Examiners.

      ******

      So yeah, he missed more than the one question, methinks.

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      Argh!

      By on

      I'm studying to take the bar exam in 23 days. I eat, drink, and sleep studying for the bar exam right now. This website was supposed to be somewhere I go to procrastinate and now bar exam questions are following me here! Argh!

      Anyway, the question doesn't even seem to be asking about the rights of gay married couples. It could have been a traditional male-female marriage and the results would probably be the same.

      The funny thing is, if this guy failed by 1 point (269 instead of 270 out of a total of 400) all he really had to do was write something, anything down and he'd be fine. From what I understand its nearly impossible to get a zero on an essay!

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      No, not quite....

      By on

      Actually, it wouldn't be the same -- note that phrase about the $1M inheritance. You'll make a point or two by noting the Defense of Marriage Act here, and the different treatment in federal and Massachusetts tax law for married gay couples.

      It's actually a pretty fun(?) fact pattern -- you've got adoption, parental rights, domestic violence, separation agreements, income tax planning (for the separation agreement) all in one package.... If he was so offended by the very notion of the marriage, he could have generically written about the stuff that isn't gender-preference specific and passed the exam.

      Almost makes me want to take the Bar Exam again... NOT!!!

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      Are you kidding me????

      By on

      It is a scary thought that idiots like this guy actually came close to becoming an attorney. Not only fine him for being a DUMB A..S..S and filing a stupid lawsuit, but I'd ban him from taking any bar exam in the US (period). Can you imagine this guy practicing law? He would probably tie up the court system all by himself. It's amazing...

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      Some Further Elucidation

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      The guy missed passing by less than two-tenths of one point. It is safe to assume that his not answering the question he was upset about did, indeed, do him in.

      He voluntarily withdrew his suit upon learning that the question did not appear in his subsequent attempt at passing the bar. This is because no questions are repeated in subsequent exams, not because the question was removed from possible use later.

      Considering how close he came, it is likely he will be practicing law sometime soon. Unless, of course, his next test has a question he doesn't like and he repeats the same song and dance.

      Suldog
      http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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