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The vetting of Elizabeth Warren’s academic background begins

The vetting of Elizabeth Warren’s academic background begins

I have alluded to issues certain writers have taken with Elizabeth Warren’s academic writings.

But never have I seen a more scathing critique of Warren than that published by highly regarded Rutgers Law Professor Philip Shuchman which was uncovered by Michael Patrick Leahy at

The article is posted here, and was published in the 1990-1991 edition of the Rutgers Law Review.

It is 60 pages of devastating analysis of a book Warren co-authored, As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America.  This is the money quote reprinted in Leahy’s article:

Most of their study replicates several earlier research publications. These are hardly mentioned. The writers make extravagant and false claims to originality and priority of research. There appear to be serious errors in their use of statistical bases which result in grossly mistaken functions and comparisons. Some of their conclusions cannot be obtained even from their flawed findings. The authors have made their raw data unavailable so that its accuracy cannot be independently checked. In my opinion, the authors have engaged in repeated instances of scientific misconduct. [emphasis added]

In those 60 pages, Professor Shuchman demonstrates time and again how Warren and her co-authors jumped to conclusions, proclaimed new findings which were not new, and most importantly, ignored or did not accurately reflect data.

This point, on page 240 of the Rutgers article, reflects a tendency which Warren has had throughout her career to reach conclusions which were politically charged and headline grabbing, but not supported by the data:

Burgeoning consumer credit and increased volatility, they say, are the two primary systemic factors that caused the “startling increases” in consumer bankruptcy in the 1980’s. But these increases are less than in other recent periods and are only about one-sixth more than the increases in business bankruptcies, which suggests that consumer credit is not the cause of the increase in personal bankruptcy filings. [footnotes omitted]

(added) Professor Shuchman went even further (at pp. 243-244), and suggested that the data was presented in such a way as to preclude verification:

This book contains so much exaggeration, so many questionable ploys, and so many incorrect statements, that it would be well to check the accuracy of their raw data, as old as it is. But the authors arranged matters so that they could not provide access to the computer printouts by case, with the corresponding bankruptcy court file numbers, thus preventing any independent check of the raw data in the files from which they took their information. [footnotes omitted]

Leahy has other information regarding Warren’s climb to the top.

In the coming weeks we will learn a lot more about Warren’s academic work, and how politically charged conclusions were not always supported by the numbers.

The vetting has just begun.

We will see if Warren’s academic claims hold up better than her claim to be Native American, minority, and a “women of color.”


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Liars, damn liars and liberal lawyers. Only in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts would this woman be a serious candidate.

Frank Scarn | June 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Whenever I want to bring on a bout of depression I think about the number of Democrats who actually hold positions, elected positions, in this country. I am astounded that people, voters, sentient beings, actually bought the lies spewed by Democrats.

Then I remind myself of the Mencken quote, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

Obama, Warren, in 2012?

Could it be possible?

LukeHandCool | June 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

“In the coming weeks we will [L]earn …”

I would change “earn” to “learn” before you earn the wrath of the learned proof reader, Eric Boehlert.

What’s any different with this than what the glo-bull warming freaks have been doing for just as long. No one in the LSM will ever challenge them (her) on any of this. It is good ammo for Brown and his crew, but just as with the faux-Indian caca, I’m betting long on this. We’ve heard stories of Tribe and others committing fraud and plagiarism with no consequence. Why would this end up any different.

Oh what a web she has woven… Lies intertwined with fiction and wishful thinking. It is the material of which novels are made! Anyone heard of movie rights being sought yet?

Thank you professor for you careful and vetted exposure of this fraudster. One of the finest examples of BS exposed meticulously!

I may even have to reassess Scott Brown’s chances as being better than a toss up…

Discrediting Warren’s character is probably inadequate, all by itself, to defeat her in the MA of Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Gerry Studds, etc etc. That’s why the development discussed in this post is so important: it is a significant step toward discrediting Warren at the policy level.

The findings suggest why Democrats are so anxious to keep Warren teflon-coated: her policies are also Obama’s.

Keep digging, oppo researchers. Keep digging.

stevewhitemd | June 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I’m impressed with Prof. Shuchman’s analysis.

I’m concerned that the Democrats and the MSM (yes, I repeat myself) will dismiss this either as a) old news or b) academic disagreement.

It should be more devastating, but I don’t think the MSM will let it percolate up to public consciousness. We’re going to need something more proximate and more easily understood by average voters.

    Browndog in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Understand that they are liberals first and foremost.

    Nothing Warren can say or do will change anything, so long as she carries the flag.

No one likes, nor should tolerate, their name, heritage, or profession tarnished.

So much has been made about her Indian heritage–you know, the one that puts “honor” first and foremost…

But so little from her peers in the law professor community-

Smite thee…that who deceives your good name

“Data” is plural. Hence, “data were presented.” Otherwise, great!!

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to nomadic100. | June 4, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I have never seen ” data were given ‘ on this side of the Anglosphere.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | June 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      correction – after talking to myself with various sentence structures .I came up with -“Sets of data were presented ‘ or ‘a set of data was presented’.

      Colloquially we drop the ‘set/s ‘.

      Now about that Math -how is that not a plural Maths?

        Math(s) is hard…

        Grammer…well…I’ll get back to you…after self-consultation(s).

          Juba Doobai! in reply to Browndog. | June 5, 2012 at 1:28 am

          Simple rule: some word always take a singular verb even though they end in ‘s’ suggesting they’re plural, but they are not cuz those words are never used in the singular: mathematics, economics, politics, physics, and so on. Carry on.

    Anchovy in reply to nomadic100. | June 5, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Ms. Warren invented grammar when she was in, well…. grammar school.

    She was the first girl in her class to both use and get a period. Her great grandmother invented the dangling participle but died before she could of use find for it.

    Remarkable woman from a remarkable family.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Anchovy. | June 5, 2012 at 1:30 am

      Yeah, well, this grammarian read her book and found that she disregarded the most fundamental rule of grammar: there is always an exception to everything. Pretending otherwise makes you a Pretindian.

Taxpayer1234 | June 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

This story sounds quite familiar–

Let’s see, a pretend Native American committing rampant academic dishonesty…Ward “I’m a plagiarist” Churchill.

Here’s the deal.

Warren and her co-author lifted other people’s work without attribution.

They tortured the numbers to make them say anything.

And they presented a work of essential fiction.

That work has been both the foundation of Warren’s reputation for “academic scholarship”, AND public policy in bankruptcy law.

That amounts to a high crime in the eyes of any member of the academy with any integrity…and there are obviously those in the legal and economic academy who DO have integrity.

I am perplexed, not so much by Warren’s shameless dishonesty and blantant lies, but by her supporters, who apparently don’t think she would be dishonest or lie once she’s in office. She has proven she is adept at it and has not hesitated to look directly into the camera and lie to Democrats and Republicans alike. Her desire to succeed in life appears to have been, and remains, a bit extreme.

There seems to be a formula to the fraudulent underpinnings of leftists. Warren is a Obama. Obama is Warren (minus the feathers?)

All I can say after reading that law review critique is “wow”.

TrooperJohnSmith | June 5, 2012 at 3:06 am

Compared to the myriad of (un)known work by that Constitutional-Scholar-without-peer, Barack H. Obama, Ms. Warren’s research looks sterling by comparison. I mean, at least she typed some words on some consecutively-numbered papers and put her name on it. That’s more than we can same for the former head of the Harvard Law Review. Hell, gangstas who tag subway cars and overpasses have more work in public view than Barack H. Obama.

“Spitting Bull” will be elected here in the Peoples Republic of Taxachusetts, because the electorate is corrupt! Ethics and morality mean absolutely nothing to the voters……hell, we forced Kennedy and Kerry on you for years!

So, once again we find lying liars who lie and do so in writing so that they can be fact checked.

The height of arrogance or stupidity.

Maybe just low expectations of the ’90’s (none of the fact checking capabilities within reach of the average or even not so average guy/gal.)

And to put the cherry on the sundae; the person lying is both a lawyer AND a Democrat. Sorry all you ethical and straight talking lawyers out there but the facts are the facts. As most people I perceive lawyers as a necessary evil primarily due to their being the ones who write the laws. There is the secondary fact of life that there’s always going to be the possibility of some SOB who will use whatever laws are in effect to try to harass, steal or otherwise disrupt your life. In which case having a lawyer is very handy (liar or not).

However, this woman is a disgrace and should be drummed out for reasons of professional pride.

CatoRenasci | June 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

Warren’s apparent “scholarship” reminds me of that gun-control-supporting fraud Michael Bellesiles and his fraudulent scholarship in The Arming of America – he ultimately had to resign in 2002 when even the academic community exposed the fraud.

Comrade Terry | June 5, 2012 at 8:11 am

Once a fraud, always a fraud.

[…] FORGET THE INDIAN THING: Now people are looking into Elizabeth Warren’s scholarship. […]

Liberals believe what they say, in spite of evidence to the contrary. If facts have to be distorted to make it fit their belief system, that’s going to happen every time.

To get an idea of how a Libbie/Proggie/Leftie (LPL) twist things, Guy Smith’s book “Shooting the Bull” about how things are twisted around gun control*. But the same twists apply to anything a LPL are well labelled and documented.

L.I. Bumper sticker for today sums it up pretty well:

*gun control should mean hitting what you are aiming to hit, and only when you mean to hit it, nothing more.

“Will no voter rid me of this turbulent phony?”

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Neo. | June 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    You’re gonna have to do heavy penance if voters follow throughh. Hope you’re up to going a mile on your knees.

Good lord. Having watched my brother nervously prepare for his hiring process as a law professor I am amazed she passed muster at any reputable school with as scathing a critique as this one sitting out there. What could Penn or Harvard have been thinking when they hired her?

My brother would never have even been interviewed, much less hired, with this sort of basic criticism on his record. But then, he’s not Native American, the intellectual force behind the Occupy movement, or a nursing mother.

Warren reminds me of Biden, in his exaggerated claims of intellectual capability and achievement. Has she by any chance cribbed speeches from any English parliamentarians, or plagiarised an article? Claimed to have the highest IQ in the room at a Princeton graduation? Hair plugs?

Ah well, perhaps the similarity is not exact.

Oh go after a woman for her scholarship but can’t look into a man’s. Sexists.

arg!!!. meant to put *sarc* around the comment above.

This dust-up doesn’t have much to do with Liberalism, but with laziness. I suppose a more precise way to say it is a fundamental failure to grasp the most basic principles of academic rigor. Too many people are more interested in saying something than they are in having something worth saying.

The first time I encountered this phenomenon was when I had a summer job in a law office, and read the Roe v. Wade decision. It was the first document on the topic of abortion that I read that made sense from beginning to end. After that, I read criticism after stinging criticism of that opinion that failed to raise any point that had not already been addressed in the opinion.

I concluded that nobody, but nobody, who disagreed with the opinion had bothered to read it. Nothing has changed since then. I recently read an article that essentially said “Kings X!!! We have proof that Life Begins At Conception, and and embryo can be supported from the 4-cell Stage. Roe v. Wade is Out of Date!!!!

Anybody who has ever read that opinion knows exactly what was wrong with that article.

I bring up this example only because it is near and dear to the hearts of cultural conservatives, who are still trying their damnedest to inject the federal government into abortion decisions, and who, if they succeed, will live to see abortions coerced by that same federal government. The Roe v. Wade decision says why that will happen.

Other, equally pertinent examples include the strange career of one Al Gore, who took one class in undergraduate school on environmentalism, and failed to take in new developments. For this, he was embarrassed by Newt Gingrich, and he deserved it. Unfortunately, his disastrous plans to enrich himself and his friends at the expense of ordinary people everywhere have taken on a life of their own.

Al Gore, of course, was supported by people willing to first engage in statistical chicanery, and then outright lying, which has been repeatedly exposed by individuals simply applying known mathematical methods.

I think all of these incidents have a common root: it is the tolerance of a philosophy of writing papers to win arguments by cheating, rather than by addressing the merits.

klipspringer | June 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

The Wall Street Journal had a piece by Professor Zwick at George Mason similar to this. It was argued Warren lied about bankruptcies and healthcare, adding people who lost in gambling into her numbers, claiming the gamblers lost their money due to a problem with the healthcare system.

[…] More Tall Tales? Posted on 5 June, 2012 by wjjhoge Breitbart has a post detailing a review of a book cowritten by Elizabeth Warren that at least on reviewer felt violated academic and scientific research standards (H/T, Legal Insurrection). […]

[…] "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"templates":{"twitter":"From Dinocrat: {{title}} @ {{url}}"}};}From Legal Insurrection on Elizabeth Warren’s book: “never have I seen a more scathing critique of Warren than […]

Constitution First | June 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Compare and contrast: The current White house occupant rose to his lofty position with far less academic currency. How did it happen?

Juba Doobai! | June 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

After all of this about Warren’s “scholarship,” I can’t help thinking she must be a lousy teacher. The first thing you teach students is that ideas come and ideas go but solid research lasts forever. So, if the research contradicts your idea, dump the idea and start over.

Nobody who is that shabby a scholar can guide students to be objective assessors of data.

Better to be the teacher from hell than to be the teacher whose scholarship cannot withstand a rigorous examination.

Why is it that her book, The Two Income Trap, seems to remind me of an old episode of the “Three Stooges” ? At the conclusion of the episode, the “Three Stooges” are offered a reward for accidentally capturing some burglars. Curly responds .. “No thanks. It will only put us in a high tax bracket.”

The whole point of the book seems to be that having an extra income is such a burden.

[…] If all of this wasn’t enough, now it looks like her scholarship is being challenged as well. Professor Jacobson goes into detail here: […]

[…] with people” thing would blow over and it would be a minor blip in her march to Washington. She was wrong. It has opened up a whole can of worms. Turns out that she is chronically dishonest. Whoda […]