NYSBA in the News: September Bar Exam Cancelled, Condemning Roger Stone Commutation, Enforcing NY Quarantine Mandate and Q & A With President Karson

By Brendan Kennedy

July 17, 2020

NYSBA in the News: September Bar Exam Cancelled, Condemning Roger Stone Commutation, Enforcing NY Quarantine Mandate and Q & A With President Karson


By Brendan Kennedy

In an announcement Thursday, July 16th, the New York Court of Appeals announced the cancellation of the September bar exam. New York State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson released a statement regarding the decision.

Legal media outlets, New York Law Journal, Bloomberg Law, and Law360 quoted Karson about the bar exam cancellation, as did the New York Post, Albany Times-Union, Spectrum News, and The Hill.

“In light of the Board of Law Examiners’ decision to cancel the September bar exam, NYSBA will promptly review and make recommendations on how best to proceed.  The class of 2020 has been dealt a difficult hand and many graduates are experiencing stress and strain over the uncertainty surrounding the bar exam, a grim job market, and staggering student debt,” said Scott M. Karson, president of the New York State Bar Association.

“NYSBA will expeditiously examine the alternatives, taking into account the interests of consumers of legal services as well as the law school graduates seeking admission to the New York bar.”

On social media, NYSBA’s twitter account was the first to report the announcement from the court minutes after it appeared on their website. At the time of publishing, the tweet has been seen by users nearly 55,000 times.

On Friday, July 10th, President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence of Roger Stone, who was convicted in 2019 of several charges, including witness tampering and lying to a congressional committee. Trump’s decision drew harsh criticism from law enforcement and the legal community. President Karson released a statement early Monday, July 13th, condemning the President’s decision.

The National Law Journal quoted Karson’s statement in an article calling Trump’s decision a ‘perversion of justice, plain and simple.”

On Monday, New York State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson said in a statement that is it “inexcusable for a president to use his power to commute sentences to save a political crony who was convicted by a jury of his peers of lying to protect the president.”

“This power is supposed to be used to correct injustice and safeguard the nation and not to benefit friends and allies,” Karson said

Karson sat down for a Q & A with his alma mater Stony Brook University, where he earned a degree in social sciences in 1972. Karson discussed his journey from Stony Brook to being elected president of NYSBA and recalled some memories from his four years, including founding the Stony Brook ice hockey team.

For Scott Karson ’72, being a lawyer means acting as a guardian of justice.

It’s this unwavering belief that has led him to a career decorated with numerous honors and achievements for his pro bono work and service to the community. Most recently, his dedication to justice has been recognized by his election as the president of the 70,000 member New York State Bar Association.

His lifelong pursuit of justice began in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook, where he graduated with a degree in social sciences during an era of great political upheaval.

NYSBA Health Law Section chair Mary Beth Quaranta Morrisey was quoted in a New York Law Journal article discussing New York’s plan to bolster quarantine enforcement for air travelers coming from states with increased spread of coronavirus.

Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey, an attorney who focuses on health and public health law, said the state’s moves highlight the dynamic between public health protections and civil liberties. But, the efforts from the Cuomo administration are on sound legal ground.

“We’re not operating under normal conditions,” she said.


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