A ruling was made by a US federal appellate court ruling affirmed the right of a blind California women to use screen access technology to take professional examinations in order to receive her license to practice law. The ruling was handed down unanimously by a panel of the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninths Judicial Circuit, upholding preliminary injunctions granted by a federal district court requiring the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to provide electronic copies of its legal examinations to Stephanie Enyart so that she could read the questions with text-to-speech and magnification software.
In a recent press releaseNational Federation of the Blind
“The National Federation of the Blind welcomes this ruling, which means that testing agencies must afford the accommodations and auxiliary aids that are most likely to level the playing field for the blind and other test takers with disabilities. The court made it clear that law and equity simply do not permit the NCBE to dictate a one-size-fits-all solution for all bar candidates with disabilities. The ruling stands solidly for the principle that the NCBE and all testing organizations must consider the individual needs of each examination candidate and that accommodation policies must change as access technology continues to improve. It is our sincere hope that the NCBE will change its rigid and outdated accommodation policies to reflect the letter and spirit of this ruling, and that other entities that administer educational and professional examinations will take note and do likewise. The National Federation of the Blind stands ready to fight for the rights of blind students and aspiring professionals and to make sure that this ruling is faithfully followed.”
The court has upheld the validity of a Department of Justice regulation, promulgated pursuant to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The court has also acknowledged that as technology advances, testing accommodating should advance as well. Accessibility should take place across all areas of modern life, from removing barriers to education to improving physical access