Lawsuit for anonymous California Bar data moves to Superior Court

Project SEAPHE along with co-plaintiffs California First Amendment Coalition and Joe Hicks of Community Advocates, Inc. re-filed suit against the California State Bar in Superior Court for the release of de-identified bar exam data. The suit was originally filed in the Supreme Court at the State Bar's urging because the Bar believed the Supreme Court had exclusive jurisdiction over all matters having to do with bar admissions. This proved to be incorrect, as the Supreme Court dismissed the suit without prejudice for "re-filing in an appropriate Court."

The switch to Superior Court puts this lawsuit in line with routine public access cases, confirming that the Bar is not a jurisdictional anomaly. The Bar had argued in their opposition brief that the Supreme Court had the authority to summarily deny the original petition—a result that would have been at odds with the California Courts' common-law doctrine creating a rebuttable presumption in favor of open access to records held in the judicial branch.

Background material