It's not a test of "intellectual ability", it's a test of analytical and reasoning skills.
I used intellectual ability to encompass such skills - since they are intellectual abilities. I think my point still stands.
Wait, you're saying fairness shouldn't be a concern? You don't care about fairness in law admissions? Your argument is entirely about fairness; you think it's unfair for schools to "like" these applicants but be "unable" to admit them.
Again, I still think it is not an issue of 'fairness'. I do not think law schools are being unfair by admitting based on ranking concerns, I simply think that it is not an ideal way to do so. There is a difference.
At least the current system is objective, transparent, and relatively straightforward. That makes it more fair.
You seem to favor a more rigid system of admissions that has a more standardized objective criteria. I disagree with this. I would rather have schools be able to use their discretion and be allowed to base admissions on a more flexible criteria that more greatly emphases a greater array of often intangible or unquantifiable factors. So be it, different strokes for different folks.
The most effective lawyers are the best lawyers, from an educational standpoint. It's not the job of law schools to play politics and choose students based on their political beliefs. We teach a diverse array of people with differing beliefs, and I'm offended by any notion that law schools should be pre-screening students based on political values. While you may think this is a good idea because a school that's in line with your values will keep out the people who you think are in the moral wrong, but the problem is that you're assuming that line will be fairly drawn. That goes back to the fairness argument I brought up, and which you seem incapable of understanding.
I don't like John Yoo either, but he is someone who will tell you he has deep moral convictions and believed he was doing the right thing for his country. How would you pre-screen against him? There's no way to do it, not without putting into place a terrifyingly discriminatory system that would be far more harmful to America than any single memo John Yoo could ever write.
I think we disagree on what exactly constitutes legitimate political/ideological differences from moral and good-practice ones. Of course I agree that no school ought to be doing litmus tests on students political beliefs. However, I think it is absolutely within a schools right, and in my view it is their obligation, to ensure that the people that they prepare to legally represent others espouse certain values and characteristics. Cornell's slogan is 'lawyers in the best sense'. I do not think they simply mean this as a benign statement of being academically legally prepared in the 'best' way. It quite clearly means more, and that is the values and characteristics that I speak of. Perhaps it is trite - but I think it need not and should not be. What if Goldman Sachs had hired 'Investment Bankers in the best sense'? I think we would be a lot better off for it.
As to how this is done - I think it obviously encompasses a more involved application process (perhaps mandatory interviews and multiple essays?) that can begin to really get insight into the applicant (which would also reduce the ballooning number of law school apps). I think such a system is possible, although I am sure some people who ought to have been admitted may not be, and I agree that those people will view it as unfair. But I would rather have some mistakes and inequality than a blind quantitative review.
Also, your argument that schools can afford to be both demanding qualitatively and quantitatively is understandable and legitimate - but I still feel that if the rankings were blind to student body, admissions officers would be making significantly different decisions.
I hope I did not belittle or offend you (sincerely). It is not my intent - I think we just disagree about fairness and what law school rankings and admissions ought to look like.