Should you decide to seek work as a police officer in New London, Connecticut – if you’re smart — you might want to bungle a few answers on the IQ test. Too high of a score means you are too smart to be a cop.
A New London policy that denied a job offer to a more intelligent applicant might be ignorant but it’s not illegal, at least not according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A federal appeals court ruled that the City of New London did not discriminate when it rejected a job application from a man who scored too high on an intelligence test.
Since the courts’ initial summary judgment in 1999 the story has made the rounds several times on the Internet, including a new round of repeats in recent months. Each time around the story inspires commentary about the reasons police agencies might avoid more intelligent applicants. Not as widely discussed are the reasons a court dismissed Robert Jordon’s appeal.
Attorneys for New London argued that city officials based their decision on instructions for the Wonderlic Personnel Test and Scholastic Level Exam, which recommends hiring employees who score at or near certain levels for various jobs. “Additionally, a body of professional literature concludes that hiring overqualified applicants leads to subsequent job dissatisfaction and turnover,” the court wrote.
Those studies about job satisfaction and turnover have been challenged but not refuted, the court reasoned. As long as the city has a rational basis for its policies, it’s not the court’s job to judge the wisdom of the policy, the 2nd Circuit Court stated. (See Robert Jordan v City of New London No. 99-9188, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 22195 (Unpublished).)
A Nation of Laws
While the 2nd Circuit Court decision might leave room for further argument, it rests on an important principal of our tripartite system of government. Legislatures can pass unwise laws. Executive agencies can enact unwise policies. When a law is unwise but not unconstitutional, it’s up to voters – not the courts – to tell the government to wise up.
John Adams – the second president of the United States – is attributed with enshrining the principle in the Massachusetts Constitution: “(T)he judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.”
Not every public employee is the sharpest tool in the shed. It comes as no surprise, then, that some people decide to match wits with their accusers when they are charged with a crime. That’s probably not the smartest choice.
There can be times when public employees with less-than-average intelligence enforce what are arguably unwise policies. The courts may uphold their policies all the same. That’s why, when you find yourself crosswise with the law, your best choice is to retain an experienced, qualified attorney.
Attorneys tend to score well above the average American on intelligence tests, but that’s not the main reason you need an attorney when you’re in a legal battle. Surgeons, physicians and corporate executives alike tend to score consistently higher than attorneys on IQ tests, but for the most part, those professionals are smart enough not to try to represent themselves in complex legal matters.
Intelligence can get an attorney through law school, and you definitely want an intelligent attorney at your side when you face a courtroom battle. But it’s our training that gives you the edge when you retain an attorney to represent you. That’s why doctors and CEO’s alike turn to lawyers when they have legal questions. We’ve spent years in rigorous training so that we can represent your interests.
Free Consultation: Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t gamble your future on the presumption that police aren’t smart enough to make their case. Talk to an attorney who has the intelligence and the training to represent you. For a free, confidential consultation with a Tulsa criminal defense attorney about a legal matter, call the Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 1 (918) 879-1681 or toll free at 1 (888) Wirth-Law. If you prefer written correspondence, you may submit a question through the form at the top right of this page.