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Did Elizabeth Warren try to game the system?

Did Elizabeth Warren try to game the system?

The Elizabeth Warren story is not about whether she is 1/32nd Cherokee.

Questions persist as to why Warren listed herself as Native American, a fact as to which she had no proof until yesterday, only in a publication almost exclusively used by other law professors and Deans during a time period in which she was climbing the law school ladder, and why she stopped listing that status as soon as she securely was at the top rung, Harvard Law School.

Hans Bader of OpenMarket blog and the Competitive Enterprise Institute has some fascinating history, How Elites Milk Racial Preferences for Their Own Gain:

One of the pitfalls of race-based affirmative action is that many disadvantaged people are less able to take advantage of it than the legal and economic elite.

Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, a well-paid academic, claimed Native American status based on supposedly being 1/32 Cherokee.  But the “white” plaintiff who unsuccessfully challenged the University of Washington Law School’s affirmative action policy, Katuria Smith, had much more Native American ancestry than Warren — she was 1/8 Native American….

Katuria Smith came from a very poor family, and it never occurred to her that calling herself Native American would help in admissions. But Elizabeth Warren, a prosperous lawyer/law professor, surely knew better, repeatedly listing herself publicly and privately as Native American to game the system, before getting a job at Harvard (after getting a job there, she mysteriously stopped claiming to be Native American).   Harvard Law School repeatedly and publicly described Warren as “Native American,” both while I was at Harvard, and afterwards, to address charges that it lacked racial diversity.

My faculty advisor (and later co-counsel), Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried, who was then on Harvard’s appointments committee, “claims that Warren’s Native American ancestry never came up in the hiring process, and that he only became aware of it later.” His recollection must be faulty. Fried was practically under siege at the time, and was keenly conscious of Harvard’s need to diversify the faculty based on race and sex to appease not just left-wing students, faculty, and journalists, but also to avoid serious potential legal consequences from the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the notoriously anti-employer civil-rights agency that has jurisdiction over discrimination claims against Massachusetts employers like Harvard University.

The MCAD had issued a probable cause finding that Harvard discriminated against left-wing law professor Clare Dalton based on sex, despite her manifest mediocrity, after it denied her tenure; Fried told a Harvard secretary in my presence that he was glad Harvard settled that case and paid off Dalton, even though he himself thought her claim meritless, as did people like Fried’s colleague, Alan Dershowitz, who told me he was outraged by MCAD’s finding and seemed disgusted that Harvard settled….

The campus at the time was practically being torn apart in protests about the racial and sexual composition of the faculty….

Association does not equal causation.  There’s no public evidence that the listing in the law faculty directory helped Warren.

But the story doesn’t add up.  Warren listed her Native American status only in the faculty directory, yet on that basis alone Harvard promoted her as a minority faculty member?  She listed herself that way in the faculty directory, but nowhere else, not even on college or law school applications?

It’s not about heritage or even affirmative action;  it’s about whether Warren tried to game the system, to claim a minority and historical victim status based on the flimsiest of connections, and then jettisoned that historical victim status when it no longer was needed.  And whether that’s the type of person Massachusetts wants to elect to the Senate.

The Scott Brown campaign is right that Warren needs to come clean.


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iconotastic | May 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Of course she gamed the system by presenting herself as an “oppressed minority”. Just another example of progressive dishonesty.

is there such a thing as an honest liberal

Which is worse? That a person is so lacking in qualification they opt to use minority status to acquire prospects. Or, that somehow minorities are so lacking in capability that they require some form of intervention to aid their career choices?
Justice Thomas may be correct-Shortly after he arrived at the (Yale) law school, Thomas writes, he realized that “blacks who benefited from [affirmative action admissions] were being judged by a double standard.” As a result, Thomas writes, his law degree was basically worthless, since it “bore the taint of racial preference.”

    n.n in reply to FeO2. | May 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    The irony is that this and similar policies serve to perpetuate prejudice, and the fear, envy, and distrust which accompanies it. We, of course, know the conclusion of this experiment. While it may have, in some form, been justified for a single generation, it has since lost any credible claim to realizing positive progress. Today, it is a constant reminder that dignity is assigned selectively based on race, gender, etc., irrespective of individual merit.

    Anchovy in reply to FeO2. | May 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Or it could be viewed as a person only needs 1/64 native American blood to become a top professor at one the top law schools and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, therefore anyone with an equal or grater amount does not need any help from affirmative action.

    iconotastic in reply to FeO2. | May 2, 2012 at 12:54 am

    People will not come out and say it, but few willingly hire professionals who may have benefited from racist admittance policies. Their credibility, regardless of how qualified they actually are, is suspect.

    And, given that the government is one of the largest employers of these “disadvantaged” minorities is reaping the benefits of hiring the least qualified.

The gaming-the-system possibility brings up another point: Warren’s divorce. According to her gushing Wikipedia entry, Warren married her high school boy friend, who became an engineer for NASA. They divorced in 1978. Two years later she married the man who remains her husband and is her colleague at Harvard Law.

Being a NASA engineer is a respected position—but is it good enough for the husband of a woman gaming her rise in legal academia?

This question crossed my mind before the Native American stuff came out. At the time it struck me, despite my antipathy to Warren, as an illegitimate issue which it would be discreditable to raise. It still strikes me as distasteful, but obviously I’ve changed my mind about posting.

Taxpayer1234 | May 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Move over, Ward Churchill.

“Hans Bader of OpenMarket blog and the Competitive Enterprise Institute has some fascinating history, How Elites Milk Racial Preferences for Their Own Gain”

As I revealed yesterday, I once worked for an NPR affiliate where most (if not all) “minority” grants were funding wealthy white female trust babies. It didn’t take long for the women’s liberation movement to hijack the civil rights movement of the 1960s once MLK was out of the way. I’m sure Juan Williams would have an opinion on this.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 2, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Man, that really says a lot, doesn’t it? NPR, full of wealthy white women, taking advantage of a program designed for the long term repercussions of slavery.

    Now they manufacture the “war on women” crisis, to justify their deceitful conduct.

    and yeah, Juan Williams gets fired for being honest instead of PC, fired by a “minority hire” wealthy white woman?

      Aridog in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am

      You can get all wrapped up in the blood heritage evidence, or lack thereof, but what’s obvious is the elephant in the room … one look at Warren tells you any such Native American heritage, if extant, is very remote. Did no one at any of her employer schools not notice the dissonance? No one?

      All she can possibly adhere to is the 1% theory of minority status that African Americans assert….with some veracity, in their case, given treatment of even octoroons in the 20th century. Warren is purported to be 1/32nd native American based upon a distant relative presumed to be full blooded, but easily could have been less than that, given the period of the late 19th century … e.g., Warren could just as easily be 1/256th or 1/512th Cherokee.

      It really doesn’t matter. Unlike African Americans or obviously blooded Native Americans, Elizabeth Warren’s strolling in to a fancy restaurant would cause no heads to look up, even casually. In short, she has not experienced being Native American in the real world. Her claim is vacuous at best therefore….and certainly self serving for both her and Harvard.

        “Unlike African Americans or obviously blooded Native Americans, Elizabeth Warren’s strolling in to a fancy restaurant would cause no heads to look up, even casually.”

        That’s the worst part. She wasn’t claiming minority status to redress a wrong but to wrongly exploit yet another advantage despite being an already privileged white. Welcome to all-white Northeast liberalism.

Given that her maiden name is Herring, could we call her actions a Red Herring?

BannedbytheGuardian | May 2, 2012 at 12:24 am

I remember the flatbed trucks that rolled into NM /Arizona towns from the dusty Indian lands.

10-20 squat surly Navajo in each with icy stares. Possibly still upset at the blankets but obviously they were not living in the same America that Elizabeth grew up in.

I will not be happy until all of those injuns not only occupy Hollywood for the persistent poor stereotyping but now Harvard as well.

Because it is only fair. Redistribute academic posts.

I don’t think it is possible to conclude anything else by the record. She checked the “Native American” box on her form every year UNTIL she made it to Harvard, then stopped, and had no way of knowing whether her “family lore” was true or not – it was obviously too good to check.

There are pending cases on Affirmative Action which will be heard by SCOTUS soon. Her shining example is one excellent reason to outlaw all racial preferences once, and for all.

I wouldn’t buy a used car (or a word she said) from that flimflam woman.

Liberals use deception as leverage.

Why limit the focus to Warren? What about Harvard? They have now been shown to be traffic in a lie. A lie that conveniently let them make claims of racial diversity when none existed.
Where do they stand on the matter?
How did they come to make such a blatant and self serving error?
When did they stop advertising the claims about Warren and why?
What -specifically- about their process has changed to prevent this from happening again?

This involves a law school, a place for training lawyers, people who are supposed to be all about accurately representing the truth with honesty and integrity. Answers to those questions would seem to particularly matter for such an institution’s reputation.

If they can’t get this right, what can they get right?

persecutor | May 2, 2012 at 8:01 am

My question is on how the genealogical folks found an old document for her great grandmother so quickly? Perhaps they went to the Hawaii State Archives and ID Factory to get one like some other notable person did.

I am a black woman and E Warren’s use of fake minority status is not new. People like her have been the beneficiaries for some time, since white women are weirdly deemed part of a “disadvantaged” group.

I am for abolishing all preferences, including legacy admissions, and allowing a small percentage to be admitted with income based needs and a random lottery system.

    Milhouse in reply to GoldenAh. | May 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Whoa! Why get rid of legacy admission to colleges? If alumni’s children don’t get a leg up, then why on earth should any alumnus give a penny to the college, or feel any loyalty at all to it once they’ve left? Do you feel loyalty to the supermarket you used to shop at?!