[Quayle] was questioned about a report that he had been admitted to Indiana University Law School as part of a program designed for students whose grades and aptitude test scores were so low they would not have been admitted in the regular admission process....I remember discussing this matter at the time, perhaps with another Wisconsin law professor. My interlocutor said that an applicant who shows up in person and makes a persuasive argument demonstrates a determination and skill that might justify admitting him to law school. These are qualities, seen in person, that might not appear in the cold numbers of the LSAT and the GPA and that are in fact relevant to the applicant's aptitude for lawyering.
Mr. Quayle acknowledged earlier that he had persuaded the dean to admit him despite poor grades at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind....
Professor [Charles] Kelso said he did not remember Mr. Quayle and was certain that neither his family nor his wealth had played any role in his admission to the course.
I said: But what about everyone else who got rejected? If they had known there was another way to get in, they might have wanted to appear in person in front of the dean and show that they too were brimming with lawyerly promise unmeasured in standardized tests. If there is a second way to get in, there should be a competition there too. The dean who let Quayle in on alternate grounds may have seen value in the man who appeared before him, but did he fully visualize the others who might have presented themselves too? Was Quayle really the best of them? The dean had no way to know.
My interlocutor retrenched: If there is a secret backdoor route into the law school, the applicant who is able to find it has manifested a special skill that would be irrelevant if the school made it plain to all that there is an alternate admissions path that uses an interview with the dean. My interlocutor had to concede that there is no way the law school dean would put up with interviews with every rejected applicant who wanted to take the trouble to show up in Indianapolis to plead his case.
I said: So a law school should make a special point of admitting the guy who realizes the official process might not be the only way to get what you want and who has the nerve to decide that his personal interests transcend the importance of equal rules for all and to take up the time of a busy person (the dean) and to promote his individual case? Well, maybe that is the attitude a client wants from his lawyer, and maybe it's okay that their lawyer couldn't score well enough on the LSAT to get into Indiana.
But I couldn't accept the law school dean's failure to treat Dan Quayle like the other rejected applicants. I thought and still think that it was the moral failing of valuing the seen over the unseen. Quayle showed up in person: Here I am, see my worthiness! But all the other rejected applicants were human beings too. Imagine them, all of them, and what they might have argued in pursuit of their goals.
By chance, the linked article — which I dug out of the NYT archive — contains another seen-and-unseen issue:
Outside the plant about 150 protesters carried signs that said such things as ''Draft Dodger Quayle - Who Died in Your Place?'' - a reference to his decision to join the Indiana National Guard in the Vietnam War.If you opposed the Vietnam War and evaded the draft, did you truly visualize the person who went in your place?