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No money-back guarantee for exam-takers

A bar applicant who filed suit after he failed the bar exam once and failed to appear at a separate exam did not have a due process property interest in the nonrefundable application fee that he paid to be admitted to the state bar, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held January 8 in an unpublished opinion. (Osborne v. Travis County, 2016 WL 104410, No. 15-50202).

The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claims by the applicant, Jamar Osborne, because he failed to show how he retained a constitutionally protected property interest in his money after paying the nonrefundable application fee, and being rejected.

The court also rejected Osborne’s argument that compelling him to give his legal opinions and beliefs as a condition precedent for a recommendation for a license to practice law violated his “right to freedom of thought.”

This argument did not state any plausible constitutional claims against the bar examiners, the court said. “Osborne is free to think any thought of any kind regardless of whether he must pass the Texas bar exam to obtain a law license.”