constitutional claims, and (3) claims under the antitrust laws.
The law with respect to federal court jurisdiction in this field is not wholly settled. Defendants rely upon a number of decisions in this Circuit, but these cases are not dispositive. Lent v. Committee on Admissions and Grievances (Civil No. 386-72, Gesell, J., 1972) was decided primarily on mootness grounds. Metropolitan Committee for the Investigation of the D.C. Bar v. Committee on Admissions (Civil No. 74-177, Green, J., 1974) was concluded by an order which is silent on the basis for the jurisdictional defect found by the Court. And Dormu v. District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Civil No. 75-2037, Pratt, J., 1977), in which the Court found lack of jurisdiction, was affirmed by an opinion in which the U. S. Court of Appeals in somewhat equivocal language stated that "it is highly doubtful that we have jurisdiction to grant such relief under any circumstances; in any event, we are not about to do so" (D.C.Civ. No. 77-1674 (1978)). While there are scattered decisions elsewhere finding federal court jurisdiction over state bar admission matters (see, E. g., Potts v. Honorable Justices, 332 F. Supp. 1392 (D.Hawaii 1971)), and while in a number of cases, including those relied on by defendants, federal courts have reached the merits of attacks upon state bar admission procedures and standards which presumably they felt they had the jurisdiction to do the most solid precedents suggest an absence of jurisdiction. See Doe v. Pringle, 550 F.2d 596 (10th Cir. 1976); Grossgold v. Supreme Court of Illinois, 557 F.2d 122 (7th Cir. 1977); MacKay v. Nesbett, supra; Jones v. Hulse, 391 F.2d 198 (8th Cir. 1968).
It is not possible fully to harmonize these varying precedents except possibly upon the basis of the distinction made by the court in Doe v. Pringle, supra, Which suggested that there would be no federal court review of orders denying particular applications for admission but that general rules and regulations governing admission in relation to federal constitutional claims are not immune from such consideration. That distinction may not always be easily applied, as this case bears out. However, the current state of the law is such that, while this Court is not prepared at this stage to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, it is apparent that plaintiff will face a formidable hurdle in his efforts to succeed on the jurisdictional question.
Assuming that the Court should ultimately find subject matter jurisdiction, plaintiff would be faced with the further problem that on the substantive merits his expectation of success is relatively slim. A number of courts have held that the requirement of graduation from an accredited law school is a reasonable one which does not offend due process. See Potter v. New Jersey Supreme Court, 403 F. Supp. 1036 (D.N.J.1975), Affirmed, 546 F.2d 418 (3rd Cir. 1976); Hackin v. Lockwood, 361 F.2d 499 (9th Cir. 1966); Murphy v. State Board of Bar Examiners for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 429 F. Supp. 16 (E.D.Pa.1977). Plaintiff's reliance to the contrary on Berger v. Board of Psychologist Examiners, 172 U.S.App.D.C. 396, 521 F.2d 1056 (1975) is misplaced. The Court there held only that the requirement of a graduate degree as a prerequisite to taking a licensing examination is invalid as applied to current practitioners with meaningful grandfather rights. As to future applicants, however, it found it to be reasonable to require graduate degrees of prospective licensees, "just as it is required of doctors and lawyers." 172 U.S.App.D.C. at 403, 521 F.2d at 1063.
Quite apart from decisional law, it appears to the Court that a requirement of graduation from an accredited law school constitutes a reasonable measure to maintain high standards in the legal profession, and that, at a minimum, this is a decision for the state accrediting agencies and highest courts of the states to make.
Plaintiff also attacks the action of the D.C. Court of Appeals on equal protection grounds. It is claimed that that court has not enforced its requirement of graduation from an accredited law school with consistency but has granted wholesale and systematic waivers to the graduates of the International School of Law, which, like the Potomac School of Law, is unaccredited. The record contains no explanation for this disparity of treatment. Absent such an explanation, it may well be that a finding of denial of equal protection would be appropriate. Cf. Potter v. New Jersey Supreme Court, supra (where the court inquired into the rationality of the distinctions made). However, it is too early to conclude that no reasonable explanation for the distinction exists and that defendants acted arbitrarily and unreasonably.
Moreover, the practice of granting waivers to students graduating from the International School of Law was apparently halted last year. Since at present neither they nor graduates of plaintiff's law school are being granted waivers, it is unlikely that plaintiff could successfully claim disparity of treatment in relation to members of the same class.
Plaintiff's reliance on the antitrust laws may be disposed of summarily. It has long been recognized that the antitrust laws do not apply to certain types of state action. Parker v. Brown, 317 U.S. 341, 63 S. Ct. 307, 87 L. Ed. 315 (1943). In Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, 97 S. Ct. 2691, 53 L. Ed. 2d 810 (1977), the Supreme Court specifically applied that rule to actions of the highest courts of states promulgating bar disciplinary rules, and that decision clearly applies here. Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773, 95 S. Ct. 2004, 44 L. Ed. 2d 572 (1975), is not to the contrary, for that case involved action by a state bar, not a state court, the Supreme Court expressly noting that the bar's minimum fee schedule was not compelled by the state supreme court. To be sure, the D.C. Court of Appeals has, to a significant degree, delegated certain of its bar admission functions
to the American Bar Association, a private organization. As more and more bar admission responsibilities are thus vested in private organizations, the Parker v. Brown exemption from the antitrust laws may ultimately be lost. However, it cannot be said that that point has been reached here. Further, in light of the unequivocal ruling in Bates, it appears unlikely that plaintiff will be able to prevail on that issue.
For the reasons stated, particularly the Court's conclusion that plaintiff is unlikely to prevail on the merits; that the relief requested is of a mandatory nature; that it would disturb the status quo; and that it would be directed against the highest court of the District; it is the opinion of this Court that plaintiff has not demonstrated his entitlement to the injunctive relief he seeks at this time.
It is accordingly, this 21st day of July, 1978,
ORDERED That the motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction be and it is hereby denied.