Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren released a new ad defending herself from attacks suggesting that she claimed to be Native American in order to benefit from racial preferences in the legal profession.
“I never asked for and never got any benefit because of my heritage,” Warren says in the ad. “The people who hired me said they didn’t even know about it. Scott Brown can keep attacking my family, but I’m going to keep fighting for yours.”
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., charges Warren with claiming to be Native American in order to increase her chances of getting a job as a law professor at Harvard University. During their debate last week, he said she “checked the box claiming she is Native American, and clearly she is not.” One genealogist’s research indicates that Warren is 1/32 Cherokee.
Warren told two universities — Harvard and Pennsylvania — that she was Native American, but says that in each case, she did not get her job because of ethnic preferences because she only told them of that background after she received the jobs.
The Boston Globe found documents at the Harvard library “showing that the university’s law school began reporting a Native American female professor in federal statistics for the 1992-93 school year, the first year Warren worked at Harvard, as a visiting professor.”
The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone has some helpful background information. “When [Warren] was hired, Harvard Law School had just denied tenure to a female teacher and was being criticized for not having enough minorities and women on its faculty,” Barone explains. “Of course Harvard and Warren say her claim to minority status had nothing to do with her being hired. And if it did, no one is going to say so.”
The Globe notes that when Warren left Harvard for a stint at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard stopped claiming to have a Native American on faculty, but they “begin to list one in 1995-96, when she returned to Cambridge as a tenured professor.”