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ALLEGATIONS FLY AS S.C. SUPREME COURT FINDS ITSELF ON DEFENSIVE

FITSNews – November 8, 2007 – It turns out our exclusive story yesterday about the flap between the S.C. Bar Association and the S.C. Supreme Court over the Court’s decision to toss out an entire section of the bar exam has taken on a life of its own. Seriously, it’s like we woke up one morning to discover our Chia Pet had swallowed us.

Anyway, sources are telling FITSNews that the Court’s rationale for discarding the results is part of an effort by Chief Justice Jean Toal to upwardly adjust the “passing percentage” of students from the Charleston School of Law.

“The Chief Justice has a vested interest in propping up the percentages from Charleston,” said a source who spoke with FITSNews on the condition of anonymity. “Also one Charleston graduate who passed the bar exam because of this decision is the daughter of a powerful circuit court judge.”

Our source declined to identify the name of the judge, and the Supreme Court only provides student numbers to identify those individuals who failed the exam initially, but then passed when the Court decided to throw out the Wills, Trusts and Estates section of the test earlier this week.

Judge Alex Sanders, Chairman of the Charleston Law School’s Board of Directors, flatly disputed the allegation that the percentage of Charleston students passing the exam had been artificially “propped up” by the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Absolutely untrue,” Judge Sanders told FITSNews. “We have heard that some people who graduated from the school passed the bar exam as a result of this decision, but we don’t know who they are.”

Sanders added that any change made by the Court would apply to all students, no matter where they attended law school.

“It might benefit our percentage of passing students, but it would also benefit the passing percentages of every other school,” he said.

Another theory posed by numerous sources centers around House Judiciary Chairman Jim Harrison, whose daughter, Catherine Harrison, passed the exam under the revised results.

On the popular social networking site Facebook, Catherine Harrison posted comments earlier this week that many believe hinted at improper influence exerted by her father.

“If the court was going to overturn the scores on their own they would have done it before the results were first announced,” Catherine Harrison wrote on a friend’s Facebook page. “(Changing them) took some effort.”

Chairman Harrison says his daughter’s comments have been misinterpreted.

“I have spoken with my daughter about this and her comments have clearly been misconstrued,” Harrison told FITSNews. “She was referring to the effort made by her fellow students, not any effort made by me.”

“I don’t know how powerful people think I am,” Harrison added, “but I don’t have the kind of pull you need to get an entire section of the bar exam thrown out, and even if I did I would never use my influence in a situation involving my own daughter.”